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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

SPL to reconsider reserve league

Walter Smith and Gordon Strachan
Old Firm bosses Walter Smith and Gordon Strachan attended the meeting

The Scottish Premier League has confirmed they are considering ending reserve football next season.

They say the topic was raised at December's summit meeting involving directors and six managers from top-flight clubs.

"It's a little premature to say it'll be scrapped but it is under review," said SPL spokesman Greig Mailer.

"But that was one of the main reasons that the six managers were called to meet with our working group."

The first SPL summit took place at the beginning of December, where the proposal to revise the reserve system was made by club directors.

At that meeting only half of the league's managers - Gordon Strachan, Walter Smith, Craig Levein, Jimmy Calderwood, Mark McGhee and John Hughes - were asked to attend.

But all 12 managers are to be invited to the next meeting in January to give their thoughts on the way forward.

It's not just about cost-cutting, it's more about finding what's best in terms of player development

Greig Mailer, SPL spokesman

Following that a report will be compiled and and a recommendation made to the SPL board.

The abolition of the top-flight reserve league would raise questions about the possible release of around 100 players by SPL clubs.

The SPL say doing away with the reserve league is one of the routes they are examining in order to take the game forward in Scotland.

"We used to have an under-21 league with very strict guidelines but we did away with that five years ago," added Mailer.

"We're constantly reviewing our options and it's all about finding the right system with which to nurture talent.

"We have to decide whether the reserve league is fit for purpose and whether we would be better just continuing with an Under-19 league."

And Mailer was at pains to stress that financial considerations were not at the heart of the idea.

"It's not just about cost-cutting, though: that's a factor, of course, but it's broader than that," he said.

"It's more about finding what's best in terms of player development."

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