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Club Academy comes to an end

Following an Annan Athletic strategy meeting and a subsequent football committee meeting Annan Athletic have decided to discontinue the club’s involvement in the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) programme, this decision was not an easy one. Year on year the challenge to meet compliance of the SFA’s club licensing system, particularly in relation to CAS, was proving too difficult and the season ahead sees the club unable to meet the requisite number of coaching positions.
We looked at the option of dropping to two CAS teams at the most viable option for Annan Athletic of U13s and U14s, but the SFA ruling unfortunately only permits U15s and the composite U16/17s in a two tier model.
Across the game, and in particular, at Club Academy Scotland level there is an abundance of players, the issue is one of quality and resources. At present, there just aren’t enough good players to populate all of the Club Academies around Scotland.
The way forward for the game in Scotland will see the introduction of more regional academies across the country, with this in mind Annan Athletic are taking a proactive approach and will refocus their youth programmes and return to grass roots level with the introduction of a Development Centre linked to the club’s charitable arm, ‘the Black & Gold Foundation’.
The intent is to increase our participation in the Dumfries and Galloway Youth League but introduce the concept of the Development Centre model. The Development Centre model will enable clubs across Scotland to concentrate on improving the technique and skills of boys who have a realistic chance of developing into professional footballers for clubs such as Annan. The Development Centre model will benefit local community clubs. Rather than us taking their best players away from them, they can keep their best players, we give them extra training, and their players improve.
Across Scotland, the Development Centre model will enable clubs to better target their coaching and financial assets in a more productive and sustainable way. Annan Athletic will continue to commit to our coaches and allow them to progress through their coaching badges.
Any players who are currently ‘signed up’ to Annan Athletic (CAS) can, of course, continue to play for Annan at community level. All players will be allowed to return to their boys clubs if they wish. The best of them will be invited for additional specialised training at Annan’s Development Centre.
The SFA are aware of the change in direction Annan Athletic are taken and are looking for the club to report on the progress in the form of a ‘pilot’ scheme.
The change in approach will sit comfortably within the values of the Black and Gold Foundation who will manage the community based teams on a day to day basis and will work with Annan Athletic to develop the arrangements while maintaining the Foundation Quality Mark – Legacy Award accreditation.

 
 
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