Appeal to SFA over games for academies
ALAN Burrows, Motherwell’s chief operating officer, praised the SFA last night for listening to some of his club’s concerns about Project Brave, but insisted further reassurance was required from the governing body to assure them that all the elite academies admitted to their new development scheme are able to access the same fixtures programme.
The Lanarkshire club, one of a number of west of Scotland clubs that met with SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and performance director Malky Mackay at Hampden yesterday, has been an arch critics of the scheme, which envisages the population of the nation’s 29 youth academies being cut by about half.
Intrigue surrounds the final number of academies fulfilling the criteria of full-time staff, facilities and generating enough Measurable Performance Outcomes to be granted “performance academy” status, even though the Project Brave strategy group recommended that Scotland was able to sustain no more than 16 academies and the most efficient way was to play in two tiers of eight to enshrine the principle of “best v best”.
“I think the SFA has listened,” Burrows said. “There are still one or two things that we want to sort out but a lot of our major concerns have been addressed.
“I still want some reassurance, though, that if Motherwell are in the elite programme that we will still get a chance to play against Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Aberdeen and all those clubs,” he added. “Because that is the clubs our players want to be playing against.
“I want to praise Les Gray at Hamilton, who has been extremely positive for speaking up for the Motherwells, Hamiltons, and Thistles, clubs that don’t have the wallet, but have the desire and philosophy of producing young players. It shouldn’t be best v best because you can put them on a spreadsheet.
“It has to actually be about going out on a Saturday and Sunday and playing games.”