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‘We have to think the unthinkable,’ insists Regan as innovation tops SFA Council agenda

THE chief executive of the Scottish Football Association last night promised radical measures to improve the national game.

Stewart Regan was speaking after a meeting of the SFA Council when proposals to take the sport forward were discussed.

Echoing Henry McLeish, the author of a review of Scottish football, Regan said: “We have to think the unthinkable”.

A series of plans have been floated to meet the crisis in Scottish football.

Regan, who was joined at the meeting by Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the Scottish Premier League, and David Longmuir, chief executive of the Scottish Football League, said: “It is a very positive step forward that the three chief executives are working together to find a solution.”

Conceding that all three organisations had ‘‘different agendas’’, Regan was confident that broad agreement could be reached on a series of proposals that are believed to include one organisation running the Scottish game and the introduction of a pyramid system in the game, effectively giving Scottish professional football a single league.

“There is a desire on everyone’s part to have more excitement and more drama in the game,’’ he said, indicating that more play-offs in the Scottish game may be an option.

He added: “The pyramid principle sees the benefit of encouraging ambitious clubs who want to succeed. Clubs who want to go forward can get off their backside and do something about it. They have somewhere to go and we need to look at how we can make that happen.”

Regan admitted there was a lot of work to be done and that the plans were only at the consultation stage, but he said: “We have some radical proposals. It is about thinking the unthinkable. We have to try new things and challenge old ideas. We have to innovate.”

The SFA Council was yesterday used as a debating forum with a range of ideas being discussed. Regan said he took two central themes for the meeting. “There was a lot of emphasis on the importance of reserve team football and there was some excellent discussions on player development,” he said.

Regan was not pessimistic about the future of the national sport, citing “green shoots of recovery” in the under-age group levels, women’s football and the number of Scots playing in the Barclays Premier League.

He was cautious about predicting just what ideas might be adopted, saying: ‘“There is a lot of consultation to be done. This is about sharing ideas.”

However, there can be no doubting his desire to change the face of Scottish football as it faces unprecedented professional and financial pressures.

Responding to suggestions that Scottish football is facing a meltdown, Regan said: “You can either sit back and let it happen or you can do something about it. We will do something about it.”

Citing unity between the three main bodies, he added: “We have to try and work together so the domestic product gets stronger. A single league could be a positive step.”

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