Hearts B team: SFA chief defends bigger clubs using resources after Conference League collapse

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SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell insists bigger clubs shouldn’t be stopped from using their resources with regards to improving Scottish football after the withdrawal of the Conference League proposal.

The resolution was pulled before the Scottish Football Association’s annual general meeting after it became apparent it would be voted down by the vast majority of clubs.

There has been widespread criticism of the plans from both Scottish football teams and their supporters. The creation would have seen four B-teams, with an unknown club joining Celtic, Rangers and Capital side Hearts, enter a newly established division just below the SPFL, effectively relegating over 200 teams within the Scottish football pyramid.

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Supporters of the idea, and of B teams in general, believe it would help improve player development in Scottish football by creating a pathway between youth sides and the first-team in a more meaningful way than the SPFL Reserve League or loans system.

Celtic and Rangers B teams battling it out at Ibrox last month. Picture: SNSCeltic and Rangers B teams battling it out at Ibrox last month. Picture: SNS
Celtic and Rangers B teams battling it out at Ibrox last month. Picture: SNS

However, detractors worried it would enable the richest clubs in the country to hoard promising young talents with the promise of regular football, even if it were at the fifth-tier level.

In response to a question as to whether B teams, and therefore the Conference League, would ultimately serve three or four clubs rather than the game as a whole, Maxwell put forward his believe that Scottish football needs to work together to create better opportunities for young players.

"It's not a one size fits all,” he said. “There are things clubs can do and things that clubs can't do. But just because some clubs can't do it, it doesn't mean the ones that can should be stopped.

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"I'm not talking specifically about B teams here, Rangers and Celtic as the two biggest clubs in the country will be far more resourced to set up a scouting network across the world. That doesn't mean they should be stopped from doing that because nobody else can.

"We need to work out what it looks like across the game. We've got 270 clubs from the top to the bottom of the pyramid and they're never all going to be able to do the same thing and it's about what it looks like overall."

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