Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay insists a common sense approach to the implementation of Project Brave will allow clubs time to reach the criteria for elite academy status.
The former Cardiff City manager is tasked with overseeing a radical overhaul of the professional youth structure, with the existing 29 funded academies to be pared to 16.
The plans would represent a cut in around 3,000 players to 1,000, thus creating a best-v-best environment that the Scottish FA hope would accelerate the development of the country’s most promising kids.
However, the qualifying requirements, particularly the demand to have six-full-time coaches focussing solely on development, has caused concern – with 13 clubs even holding a crisis meeting last month.
But Mackay insists the Scottish FA are doing all they can to accommodate interested clubs, whilst ensuring standards are not compromised.
Mackay said: “It’s about common sense, it’s not about manipulating how many people get in and can’t get in.
“It’s where a club’s finances are, that’s what you’ve got to look at. Where does a club sit in terms of having enough funds to do the top level or do something else?
“Ultimately there are a lot of good clubs in Scotland who are running small, efficient academies.
“Now they might not have the funds to do the elite level but do they have enough to do the performance level.
“So is there a middle ground, a new category where they can aspire to get there and it’s a stepping stone.
“So it’s not actually straight in there, there is a stepping stone to get there and that’s something we’re taLking to them about.
“It’s a variety of different aspects to how many people, how many coaches, how many support staff, what facilities, how long it takes to get a certain licence.”
The Scottish FA plan to circulate a second bid document to clubs in the coming days, with the identity of those who achieve elite academy status expected to be known by October at the earliest.
Mackay, who spoke at the National Performance Centre at Riccarton yesterday as he hosted the first in a regular series of Scottish FA Coaching Mentoring sessions, added: “Ultimately what we have to do is raise standards, I don’t think anyone would disagree.
“We need more full-time coaches in the country, there’s not enough, and we need better facilities.
“If you get the two of those, then eventually you get better players, and we want more full-time coaches who are better educated.”