bridge the gap SAYS CHAIRMAN

21/09/11. John Devlin. Communities Cup. Falkirk FC (3)  V Rangers FC (2). Winning goal cele.
21/09/11. John Devlin. Communities Cup. Falkirk FC (3) V Rangers FC (2). Winning goal cele.
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uFALKIRK have earned £1200 by starting an average of four youngsters every game in the first third of the season.

But the Bairns have missed out on a further £10,800 because they’re not playing SPL football.

Teams starting with more than three or more under-21s in an SFL game receive £100 under the SFA’s Performance Awards scheme - but in the SPL it’s ten times more.

Steven Pressley has played an average of six under-21s in each league game so far this season - starting with no less than four - which qualifies the Bairns for the maximum reward from the Scottish Football Association.

But it’s still less than a top league outfit fielding two youths in just two games and netting £1500.

Club chairman Martin Ritchie says it is right to be reward teams playing youths but admits the corridors of power should bridge the gap between the divisions.

“I don’t feel like we’ve missed out on that £10,000 extra we could have had so far because we never had it in the first place,” Ritchie told The Falkirk Herald.

“I am very keen on this initiative from the SFA but I feel the difference between the divisions should be a little bit closer.

“If the incentive was increased for SFL clubs it would increase the number of youth players moving on-loan from SPL clubs and increasing the pool of young talent nationwide.

“We are proof of what can be achieved by investing in youth players.”

The £500,000 performance awards scheme was launched in the summer by SFA chief Stewart Regan and has roots in a similar scheme in Regan’s previous sport, cricket.

His aim is “the long-term development of talented young Scottish players” and to “provide an incentive to SPL and SFL clubs to give these players an extended run in the first team.”