New Scottish FA President Alan McRae met with Michel Platini at UEFA headquarters in Nyon this week to discuss the latest milestones in our strategic plan Scotland United: A 2020 vision.
The UEFA President was encouraged by the work being done by the Scottish FA and was particularly keen to find out more about how the HatTrick programme was progressing in Scotland.
Supported by UEFA, the HatTrick programme has created more routes in football for all and has contributed to a remarkable boost in the number of registered players.
Speaking to UEFA.com, McRae said: "Due to the HatTrick programme we have been able to widen our provision at grassroots level through our Strong Quality Growth area of the strategic plan 'Scotland United: A 2020 Vision' – with particular focus on equality in football to increase accessibility for girls and women, and ethnic minority groups.
"The HatTrick support has also enabled us to more than double the number of registered players from 65,000 to over 140,000."
Our two upcoming Euro Qualifiers against Georgia and Germany were also on the agenda and our new President talked to Platini about his dream of building a Scotland team from performance school graduates:
"'Scotland United: A 2020 Vision' has given us a roadmap towards [EURO 2020]," said McRae. "It is our ambition that the national team qualifies for the finals with graduates from the regional performance school programme, which is now in its fourth year, and where around 400 of the country's most talented young players receive an extra eight hours of skills development per week as part of the curriculum in seven schools across Scotland.
"In order to maximise the prospect of elite talent development we need to provide more opportunities at grassroots level, more hours of practice and, of course, more high-quality 3G [artificial turf] facilities that are able to be used year-round. This is our commitment and responsibility to the national game."