Raith Rovers and the three other Fife Senior Football Clubs, along with Fife Football Association, are pleased to announce that, with effect from season 2014/15, the four Clubs will combine their current Youth Academy structures to form a Regional Academy and apply to compete in the Club Academy Scotland – Elite Programme as the Fife Elite Football Academy (FEFA).

Currently the four Fife Clubs each have their own teams and compete in the Club Academy Scotland – Initiative Level Programme.  With effect from next season, the Fife Regional Academy will compete in the Elite Programme with Clubs such as Dundee United, Aberdeen and Celtic.

Although the Regional Academy will mean a reduction in the number of players in the Academy system, a close link will be forged with the recently announced Fife Football Performance Academy run by the Scottish FA Development Department This will ensure that there is high quality coaching available to all players currently in the system.

John Lints, Fife Football Association Chairman said, “By combining the resources of the four Fife Senior Clubs, we will be able to significantly increase the level of investment in player development and offer a far higher level of Technical Coaching, Sports Science and Medical Provision.

By linking with the Fife Football Performance Academy, supported by Fife Council, we can now identify a player pathway in Fife where a young footballer can develop and progress from grass roots football to play professional football for one of the four Senior Fife Clubs.”   

For Raith Rovers FC, Tom Phillips, Director with responsibility for the Clubs Youth System said, “For some years, Raith Rovers has produced talented players through its youth system and the young players that have played a key role in Grant Murray’s squad this season are testament to this.  However, the fact remains that all the Fife Clubs play in the SFA Club Academy Scotland Initiative level and no single Club has the resources to move up into the SFA Elite programme, which attracts the top young talent in Scotland.  Many of the best players Fife has produced in recent years have been recruited by Elite Academy teams in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh and are lost to the game in Fife at a very early stage in their career.  This fact, along with a clear desire by the four Fife Club’s to work collectively on this development and the support offered by the SFA, has been key in the decision to form a Regional Academy.”

Work is underway to put arrangements in place for a transition season for 2014/2015 as the move is made from Initiative to Elite level.  A strong link will be established with the new SFA Fife Football Performance Academy, which will be able to identify the best talent at an early age to ensure that the Regional Academy is at the forefront of player development and gives local youngsters the best chance possible to become professional football players.  

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