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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Scots youth football to get 30m
Football
Organisers hope the plan will turn out future soccer stars
Scottish youth football is to receive a 30m investment in an attempt to turn around the game's fortune and produce future star players.

Organisers of the 10-year plan hope to change the way the youth game is financed and organised.

Sports Minister Frank McAveety launched the scheme on Tuesday at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The initiative is being run by the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Executive and Sportscotland.

A total of 31.1m will be spent as part of a 10-year action plan designed to sweep away bureaucracy and improve coaching facilities.

Long-term plan

It comes at a time when Scottish football is at its lowest ebb for decades, with the national team having failed to qualify for the last three major tournaments and some of the country's top-flight teams in administration.

Mr McAveety said: "This investment demonstrates our commitment towards a long-term plan to restructure youth football in Scotland.

"We all want to see Scottish football thrive at every level, where more people will play the game and more talented young Scottish players will be successful at the top level for their club and their country.

We are now in a position to make real progress, providing more opportunities for young people to play the game in Scotland
David Taylor
SFA chief executive
"I believe that with passion, commitment, and everyone supporting the plan, we have all the ingredients in place to find our footballing stars of the future and help Scotland compete at the highest levels of our national game."

Many Players One Goal involves a 20m investment with a further 10m over a period of 10 years.

The plan recommends drastic changes in the hope of revitalising the national game.

One major change is expected to be a single youth strategy for all under-19s - rather than individual youth plans.

Funding problems

The initiative follows an independent review of the Scottish youth game by consultants PMP, commissioned in 2002 by the SFA and its partners.

The SFA's chief executive, David Taylor, said there had never been a better time to address some of the fundamental issues in Scottish football.

He said: "For years, we have been hampered by a lack of investment. But there has been a great deal of good work and we are beginning to see young players come through.

David Taylor
David Taylor: The game has been hampered by a lack of funds
"Now is the time to recognise that these players are our future, and devote sufficient resources to youth development.

"The action plan presents us with a clear and cohesive way forward, backed by a viable and robust funding strategy.

"It has evolved through independent consultation, engaging everyone who cares about the future of the Scottish game - from the parents and coaches on the touchline to the national coach and the top clubs.

"This will lay the foundations for clubs and national teams at the performance end of the game, so Scotland can get back to qualifying for major tournaments."

First Minister Jack McConnell said the "cumbersome and bureaucratic" structure governing Scottish football was seen by many as holding back the development of the game.

And he said the number of young people coming into the game was near crisis point, partly because of a decline in youth and schools football in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr McConnell said: "We need an injection of resources from the clubs themselves and the government, and this is a partnership that can transform the quantity of provision. But the quality of provision has to change too."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay
"Do we need to spend this kind of money to catch up with countries of a similar size?"



SEE ALSO:
Football needs 'radical' overhaul
11 Feb 04  |  Scotland
MSPs debate football 'crisis'
08 Feb 04  |  Scotland


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