Scottish youth academy needs radical change, says Malky Mackay

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Clubs and SFA 'must come together'

Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay insists clubs must be focused on what is best for the future as he seeks to implement Project Brave.

The programme aims to change Scotland's youth academy structure for the benefit of the national team.

Mackay has met club owners and managers in recent days and says the plans have been well received.

"We need to radically change otherwise, everything will just tick along," he told BBC Scotland.

"The owners need a medium-to-long-term plan otherwise they're going to go out of business," Mackay added.

Heads of academy 'switched on'

"They have to have the short-term gain for this few weeks but what happens in six weeks' time, what happens in a year's time?

"I've met a couple of switched on heads of academy, a couple of switched on chief executives and the owners who actually get the fact that they need to keep their club moving.

"The club needs to exist in five years' time so for it to exist in five years' time some of them are going to have to go down this strategy.

"Six weeks to turn around a business, it can't happen but if there's a business plan in place and you put somebody that you think's good into the job then allow him to do the job. If there's a structure there, everybody knows how it's going.

Scotland players
Mackay hopes changes will eventually bost the national side

"This is about everybody, it's not about one person. I don't walk in here with a bag of cash. We've got to make sure that we all come together. Clubs and the Scottish Football Association have got to work together.

"I certainly hope it's going to get it better and I will do everything in my power to make it better."

Scotland's men's team have not reached a major finals since the 1998 World Cup in France.

'Terrible time after Euro 2000'

Mackay, who worked with Watford's academy before becoming their manager, is the third person to take up the performance director role since 2011.

Project Brave's proposals include moving academy football up to under-16 level to the summer, re-introducing a reserve league for senior clubs and increasing the use of development loans to lower league clubs for players up to 21 years.

There are also plans to reduce the number of fully-funded performance academies and the number of players within them.

"You've got 29 academies in the country at the moment for five million people," Mackay added.

"[Current world champions] Germany for example went through a terrible time after Euro 2000 [when they finished bottom of their group].

"They've got 80 million people and they've got 50 academies.

"If you're from 29 academies down to a maximum of 16 - everybody [from the current academy structure] bids - the bar is going to be set high, make no mistake."

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