Dunfermline Athletic

Youth set up set back

Sunday, 29th Dec 2013

Dunfermline will appeal the SFA decision to downgrade the Club's youth programme from level 3 to level 2

2013-14 YOUTH PHOTOCALL

Jim Jefferies says that Dunfermline will appeal the SFA decision to downgrade the Club's youth programme from three star to two star level.   

"They asked us to come into the youth set up because we did so well last year. We are a club who in the last few years had to go down that path but now they are making it more and more difficult. This is not going to help us in the slightest."

Dunfermline have been considered a model for youth development but the action of the SFA seems inconsistent given the other messages received about youth development at the club.  Currently the club operates within the performance tier of the SFA's youth initiative, where participating clubs' acadamies are rated from one to six stars with teams awarded between four and six stars operating in the 'Elite Academy' category. Jefferies confirmed that Director Craig McWhirter had put a case forward where it didn't even need to go to appeal:-

"Mark Wotte comes over and tries to encourage us to have an academy yet the SFA are working against it. They are trying to take the rug from under our feet; dropping us down a level.

Chris Kane

"It is a ridiculous decision based on red tape that could easily have been sorted out. The fact of the matter is that Dunfermline have been very successful going down a pathway of bringing boys into the first team and to the Youth Cup final.

"We have some exceptional players coming through and players called up to national squads but now they go and drop us down a level and cut the funding on it. We have already had to take a cut due to the division we are in.

"They have it in the rules that you have to have this and that in place. We have got it in place yet the criteria that they are asking you to meet is very difficult for some clubs. We are confident that the appeal will go our way.

YOUTH SIGNINGS JUNE 2013

"Mark Wotte would be interested in the outcome of our appeal because of the fact that he has been the one who has come here and picked our boys. He likes the way Dunfermlime have gone about things. The SFA have now made it harder for us to do. We couldn't run a youth system on that kind of funding."

The cash implications are that annual funding would be cut from £65,000 to £30,000 and on the playing side Dunfermline youth sides would no longer play their counterparts from the top clubs.  Jefferies continued:-

"We have a good youth set up, we need to play against the best sides. That is where players learn so what's the point of throwing us into a league where, with no disrespect, we could be winning comfortably. It is not about that, it is about producing good young players and not going out there like some bigger teams. Inverness lost heavily to Rangers. Some of the teams that go down into those divisions end up winning so comfortably that it doesn't do them any good."

SCOTT SUTHERLAND
Scott Sutherland, one of the youth set ups' many successes



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