SFA begins search for performance director

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland
Scotland squad
The performance director will work directly with national coach Craig Levein

The Scottish Football Association hopes to have a new performance director in place within the next couple of weeks, having started interviewing candidates.

But it is understood that the position will not be filled by a top football coach or manager.

The SFA is seeking someone who combines coaching and administrative experience as well as political awareness.

He or she will work with national coach Craig Levein to develop talent to help Scotland qualify for major tournaments.

Speculation had linked Walter Smith with the role, but SFA chief executive Stewart Regan told BBC Scotland that the outgoing Rangers manager was not in the running.

All 93 SFA member clubs voted unanimously at Tuesday's annual meeting in favour sweeping reforms recommended by Regan designed to improve the national game.

Scotland have failed to qualify for the last six major international competitions and a performance director was one of the recommendations to come from Henry McLeish's Review of Scottish Football.

The SFA performance system has been backed by £10m worth of investment to be made available over the next five years to bring the principles into effect.

They include:

- A strategic plan to ensure 10,000 hours of quality ball time for elite players

- Creating a "Best v Best" culture

- Creating a world-class coaching community

And Levein believes a new performance director will also provide a great boost to the national team.

"For me it's pretty straightforward," the Scotland coach told BBC Scotland in December.

"It's about producing the best possible players for Scotland's international team.

"That's my priority and a performance director is something I'm dead keen on because that will enhance our chances."

Part one of the former First Minister's report was released in April 2010 and the SFA had hoped to have a candidate in the post by now.

However, the SFA was sidetracked with a referees' strike and the internal email scandal involving the sacking of staff, including former head of referee development Hugh Dallas.

Tuesday's vote at Hampden to restructure the SFA was viewed as a "historic" day by Regan, who will now take more control in a bid to streamline the disciplinary process and committee structure of football's governing body in Scotland.

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