MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's soccer chiefs are to close the country's Centre of Excellence, in the hope that A-League clubs will fill the void in developing young players.
The Canberra centre, linked to the Australian Institute for Sport, will close later this year, with FFA chief executive David Gallop saying the time had come for change.
"We are working with clubs and member federations to create a player development system that will be able to grow with the game around the country," he said in a statement.
"While the Centre of Excellence has helped to produce great players and still delivers a quality product, it caters to a maximum of 24 boys at Under 16 and Under 17 level at a cost of $1.6 million a year. We believe FFA resources can be better used in a decentralised and expanded system."
Mark Viduka, Ned Zelic, John Aloisi and Lucas Neill are among the Socceroos who launched successful careers from the centre.
Editing by Hugh Lawson