DUNDEE United have claimed they had no chance of attaining ‘elite’ status in the SFA’s new youth system because of a lack of indoor facilities on Tayside.

United confirmed they had been awarded ‘performance progressive’ status – the second of three tiers of the SFA’s Project Brave set-up – but did not apply for the top list.

It is understood that Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Hamilton will join Scotland’s five biggest clubs – Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibernian and Aberdeen – in the eight-team elite band, although the SFA has yet to make an announcement.

It is believed that only six of Scotland’s league clubs were in favour of the new system, championed by SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and performance director Malky Mackay.

United’s academy director, Brian Grant, said that elite status was “unattainable due to factors outwith our immediate control, an example being indoor facilities of a standard that does not exist in Tayside.”

Grant added: “While many of the elite status criteria have been met, we do require further significant investment to realise our ultimate goal of elite status. This will include the appointment of a number of key full-time staff to work with the current staff and appointments made in the last six months.”