Football Federation Australia have announced the exit of National Technical Director (NTD) Eric Abrams as the organisation looks to overhaul its approach to youth development.
Abrams leaves after four years in the role, and at a time when the governing body is seeking a more "holistic approach to youth development" in the wake of flatlining results.
In a statement on Thursday, FFA said it was looking to "review and evolve its male and female youth development practices" in light of the challenges ahead.
A National Youth Development Panel will be established to provide ongoing advice to FFA and the new NTD on elite youth development pathways.
An analysis of international youth football trends will be undertaken, enabling Australia to identify areas of improvement and benchmark itself against global competitors.
The federation is expected to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders over the coming months with the intention of expanding the mix of local and international expertise.
As part of the review, the wider football community will be given a voice regarding the state of play at youth level including coaching, game affordability and pathways from grassroots to higher levels.
FFA CEO David Gallop said a collaborative approach was necessary for the game to overcome its hurdles.
“While the fundamentals of football in Australia are undeniably strong, there are some significant challenges that must be resolved if we are to advance quickly as a football nation,” Gallop said.
“At youth level we have identified the need to draw upon the knowledge of more Australians, while also continuing to recognise and respect the role that international football has on the sport."
Australia's young footballers have hit a brick wall at domestic and international level. The FFA Cup has again raised questions about the barriers preventing young players from progressing to the top flight.
The Olyroos have not qualified for an Olympics since 2008 and the Young Socceroos and Joeys have both failed to reach youth World Cups in recent times.
Despite the success of the Matildas it's been hard going for the younger female teams as well. The Young Matildas have not qualified for a Youth World Cup since 2006, the Mini Matildas never.
Gallop added: “Eric has made a telling contribution to football in Australia, and we thank him for his service and professionalism over the past four years.
“We feel that this is the right time to make a change as we seek to unite Australia’s football community and stimulate discussion about innovative ways to build upon the foundations that exist from grassroots to professional clubs across the nation."
Abrams, who joined FFA in 2014 after a long period involved with Belgium’s national youth teams, departs after overseeing the implementation of key youth development structures.
He was instrumental in the implementation of several national programs including the Club Academy Accreditation System and High Performance Football Schools.
He also worked closely with A-League and W-League clubs, as well as State and Territory Member Federations, to ensure that their player development practices were aligned.
Selection of a new National Technical Director will involve a panel of external experts.