The SPL will have an under 20 league from next season after the clubs unanimously approved their introduction. The under 20 concept was a key part of SFA performance director Mark Wotte's Elite Player Pathway.
Wotte, in Italy with Scotland’s Under-16s this week, said: "I am delighted at the decision of the SPL clubs today to approve the introduction of the Under-20 League. This is a fundamental part of the Scottish FA’s Performance Strategy and it will be vital in bridging the gap between the current under-19s and the first-team squads. I am hugely encouraged by the positive discussions that have taken place between the SPL and the Scottish FA and, in particular, the support of the clubs’ Heads of Youth and chairmen during the period of consultation. Working in partnership with the clubs is essential in the long-term development of elite players and today’s decision shows the new relationship that exists between the Scottish FA, the SPL and its clubs." All SPL clubs will take part in the Under-20 League and there may be space for a club or clubs from the SFL to join the new league. Neil Doncaster, SPL Chief Executive, said: "Providing the right platform for developing young Scottish players is vital for the whole of Scottish football and I am delighted to announce the introduction of an Under 20 League from next season. Working in conjunction with the Scottish FA, I would hope this goes someway to reducing the development gap between the current Under 19 League and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to better equip young players for the demands of first team football and aiding the development of more and better young Scottish players for the Scotland national team." SFA Chief Executive, Stewart Regan said: "Today’s decision is a major step forward and shows that the football bodies are working together in the best interests of the game. Mark Wotte has identified the Under-20 League as a key driver of the Performance Strategy and I am delighted the clubs share his vision."