Airdrieonians FC issued the following press release:
As part of our Corporate Plan, our aim is to work towards a full time Youth Academy to complete our Player Pathway so that we can offer a route into full-time football for our youngsters through the Airdrieonians brand. As it stands, not being able to do so means that we are always at risk of losing our best young players after spending many years developing them, however as from today, things are changing.
The Club is delighted to announce the launch of our latest move to strengthen our Youth Development Pathway by the foundation of the Airdrieonians FC Academy, sponsored by Rainbow Room International, the multi award winning Hair and Beauty Group based in Scotland owned by Alan and Linda Stewart.
5 outstanding young players have been taken on full time at the Club on the Young Apprenticeship Scheme with two year contracts and they will be training within the Edusport Football Academy, owned by Airdrieonians Director, Chris Ewing. The players are Liam Coogans, Kyle Richford, Aiden Ward, Jack Haggerty and Chris O'Neil (pictured, right).
Jim Ballantyne said "To secure the support of Rainbow Room International is a testimony to our vision for the Club and it would not have been possible without their direct involvement.
"Alan and Linda have built up a hugely successful business turning over in excess of £6m per annum and this is a direct result of their commitment to their own youth development.
"It was not until I sat down, at the start of the year, with Chris Ewing of Edusport Academy that it really began to take shape and it then gave me the opportunity to put a proposal to Rainbow Room International.
"The Club plans to expand this new venture over the forthcoming years however, it has to be resourced properly and the ability to partner the launch with Edusport Academy, and obtain sponsorship from Rainbow Room International has given the club a great start."
Airdrieonians director Chris Ewing, owner of Edusport Academy said "We're delighted to welcome the boys into the Edusport Academy.
"The players will benefit from fantastic facilities and top UEFA Coaching on a daily basis, which will undoubtedly help their development. Being part of the Academy will also enable the players to develop a 'full time' professional mentality.
"It is also an interesting opportunity to combine footballing cultures, with the majority of the players at the Edusport Academy being French. All at the Academy are very excited to work with the five players, who's progress of course, will be monitored by Airdrieonians' coaching staff daily.
"I would also like to thank Rainbow Room International for their support with the project."