Giving Supporters Representation

Scottish Supporters Network

Supported by:   Supporters Direct Scotland

Supporter Led Consultation on Colt Team Proposals

Date: 18th June 2017

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) have sent a document to all 42 member clubs asking if they would be interested in running a Colt/’B’ team as part of a proposal aimed at providing a pathway to competitive first-team football for players aged between 17 and 21.

Clubs have also been asked to provide comments and/or express opposition to Colts being introduced to the league pyramid system. Clubs have been asked to submit their interest and comments by Friday, June 30. These are the early stages of this issue.

Giving Fans A Say

As SD Scotland’s role as a supporter representatives, we believe it’s important that supporters are represented on issues as potentially big as major changes to the league structure, which supporters are the main consumers of. 

With this, we’re asking supporters to complete this short survey to give us their views on the SPFL’s proposals. We will collate these responses and feed back the results to the SPFL.

 

Why are Colt teams being considered?

In the document, SPFL member clubs are reminded that Scotland have not reached the finals of a major international tournament since France 1998. It’s also pointed out that the Under-21s have not reached a major finals since 1996 but that the Under-17s have enjoyed qualification success.

It is said that this “could be viewed as indicating that a key problem in youth development in Scotland is at the 17-21 age bracket”. The clubs are also told that the problem is “exacerbated” by the “perceived inadequacies” of the SPFL’s Under-20 Development League.

Proposals as part of Project Brave, an SFA initiative, only address youth development up to the age of 18. The only proposal which goes beyond this age is to replace the Development League with a Reserve League which would allow clubs to field more over-age players.

Last season, Premiership Colt teams took part in the IRN-BRU Cup for the first time. Clubs are told that the feedback the SPFL received from development coaches involved with the Colt teams was “extremely positive”.

 

Proposal details:

*All 42 SPFL member clubs are invited to express an interest in running a Colt team.

*Colt teams would “ordinarily” begin life in the Lowland League or Highland League. They would not be promoted beyond League One. In the case of a Colt team winning League One or finishing in a promotion play-off place, they would be ignored in favour of the next eligible team below.

*Colt teams would be for Under-21 players although clubs are informed that it is “possible” a maximum of two over-age players might also be eligible to play.

*Clubs entering a Colt team must have a registered ground for the duration of the season which meets the minimum standard required for League One and League Two clubs.

*Clubs entering a Colt team must have sufficient resources to staff it on a day-to-day basis and a matchday staffing operation which meets the standard for League Two.

*Colt teams must give two clear seasons’ notice if they wish to withdraw from the league set-up.

*It’s expected that Colt teams would have their own dedicated squad lists. Parent clubs would be entitled to loan players to their Colt teams.

*Colt teams would only be permitted to enter the IRN-BRU Cup. They would not be eligible to participate in the Scottish Cup or League Cup.

*The Development League would become a Reserve League. It’s “envisaged” that participation would be “optional” meaning a club could choose to operate a Colt team rather than a reserve team.

 

Pros:

*Young, technically-gifted players would be playing against stronger, experienced professional players.

*These players would be playing in a highly-competitive environment with promotion and relegation issues at stake.

*The parent club will be able to monitor, support and train the young players in accordance with their style of play and values.

*Colt teams will address the perceived 17 to 21 problem area and provide a pathway to first-team football.

*Potential to create further ventilation within the league pyramid.

*There could be an impact on attendances with some Colt teams perhaps attracting a reasonable support.

 

Cons:

*Colt teams may be seen as devaluing the competitions in which they participate.

*Colt teams may occupy promotion places which would otherwise go to non-Colt teams. Of course, the reverse is true in terms of relegation places.

*A lower number of players may be loaned out.

*There could be an impact on attendances with supporters of lower-league clubs not welcoming the prospect of playing a Colt team.

*There will be a cost to running a Colt team for parent clubs.

 

How the decision will be made:

Should the proposal to introduce Colt teams go to a vote, SPFL member clubs will make the decision at a general meeting.

For the proposal to be given the go ahead, 90% of Premiership clubs; 75% of Premiership and Championship clubs and 75% of Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two clubs would have to vote for it.

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