Lowland League chairman George Fraser has insisted the move to bring Celtic and Rangers Colt teams into the setup is not all about money and ultimately about developing youngsters who could otherwise face another season on the sidelines.
Fraser was appearing on the Lowland League's 'Official Catchup' podcast to discuss the ongoing talks to bring Rangers and Celtic Colt teams into the fifth tier for one season only.
The Glasgow giants have put forward £50,000 to enter the setup for the 2021/22 campaign and the potential move to parachute into the fifth tier has had a mixed reaction from member clubs and fans.
Asked if he was betraying the progressive ideals of the Lowland League by admitting the clubs, Fraser, who is also general manager at Lowland League side BSC Glasgow, said: "I don't think so. This might sound really cheesy, but there's a human aspect to this.
"We are talking about boys who are between 17 and 20 years of age possibly not playing football for another year.
"People have lost sight of that a wee bit.
"I know people will say I'm just throwing this in, but I'm genuinely not. I come from a sports club background with 400 kids that we've got.
"We don't want to see anyone suffer.
"We need to take out of the equation who they are playing for and who they are attached with.
"It doesn't matter what team they are playing with.
"We need to give a platform for these boys to play football more than anything.
"The mental health argument is used a lot and I know they will have support with both Celtic and Rangers, but ultimately there is a human aspect to this as well.
"It's not just all about money and it's not just about those two teams."
Fraser was also asked about strategic partnership and loaning players out to clubs instead.
A number of sides in the Lowland League have taken on kids from Old Firm sides, while much of the top young talent has been farmed out to clubs in the higher reaches of the SPFL pyramid.
Fraser added: "What's been made clear to me is they [Rangers and Celtic] want the players to grow together as a team.
"Hopefully, both teams will be playing in the UEFA Youth tournament over the next season as well and they want the teams to grow together in order to bring them on that way.
"If you've got players all over the country at different clubs, it's very difficult to keep an eye on them and note their progress. If they are together as one team they can be monitored a lot easier."
Asked if his gut feeling was the plans would go through, Fraser said: "Yes, I think it is.
"I’m probably shooting myself in the foot here but I would like to think that it has a fair chance."
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