Inverness Caledonian Thistle have found a way to save the club’s academy and continue the running of all seven of its youth teams.
Caley had previously announced they were struggling to source the funds to continue the scheme free of charge.
However, with over 90% of the parents agreeing to partake in voluntary funding and donations coming from local businesses – with one businessman offering to donate a five figure sum – the academy will be able to continue.
This means that Caley are able to keep its current seven teams, that run from under-12s level to under 18s, and still be registered for the SFA’s flagship scheme Project Brave.
Prior to the announcement, a few Caley youth players admitted they were worried they may lose their place in the team, with budgets struggling to cover over all ages.
Under-18 player Andrew Lewthwaite was asked about the possibility of losing his place in the squad.
“Of course, that’s always the fear,” he said, “yet without fear your’re nothing. I know certainly for me it is the fear which drives me always to do my best”.
Another under-18 player, Ross Gordon, also spoke about how “the risk is always there of being dropped, but in that moment the risk seemed even higher.”
The suggested scheme suggests players will pay £10-a-week for training and to go to their games.
Both Ross and Andrew were questioned if, that due to the new fees, players would be drawn to the likes of Ross County or Clachnacuddin. However, both boys emphatically agreed that all the players were committed to the team.
“Players would be missing out if they left as Caley has an amazing academy and coaches, if you want the best you’d want to be at Caley,” Andrew said.
Ross added: “Especially now that we have this opportunity to keep the academy running, the boys will be closer than ever and wanting to do as well as possible for the team.”
The club understand the significant amount of backing they have received from parents and sponsors for the academy to stay afloat.
Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, many teams are feeling the full extent of the financial burdens caused by the virus.
Staff at Hibs’ Tranent academy were relieved of their duties and several other clubs are weighing up their involvement in Project Brave.
As well as that, other teams have withdrawn academies from Project Brave over the past couple of years such as Falkirk, Livingston and Dunfermline.
However, Inverness has been a great example of a community coming together in incredibly tough times to support a club which has an ever-present role in its community looking after and providing for others. Let’s hope that some of the boys who are being given the chance today will be the stars of tomorrow.