Over 4000 Teams and 60,000 players are set to benefit from a £300,000 boost to youth football from the Scottish Football Partnership Trust and philanthropist James Anderson.
The donation from James Anderson will help alleviate increased costs that Scottish Youth FA clubs and parents face due to new safety measures and also support coaching, sports first aid and grassroots volunteers.
James Clydesdale, chair of the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, said: “This will make a huge difference to a large number of clubs and tens of thousands of youngsters. Youth football needs support at a time when every level of football has been hit hard by the pandemic crisis. It is crucial for the long term good of the game there is not a decrease in the number of children and young people participating. We greatly appreciate James Anderson’s interest and support and have identified specific areas with the Scottish Youth FA where we can help youth football.”
The SFP Trust and SYFA proposals include funding to offset membership/affiliation fees for teams competing in small-sided and the eleven-aside leagues whose seasons have been disrupted. There will also be grant support for 2,000 youth coaches and volunteers on National Sports First Aid courses delivered by the Hampden Sports Clinic and for coach education delivered via the Scottish FA.
The SFP Trust identified support needed for additional costs of increased safety procedures such as PPE, hand sanitisers, enhanced medical kits and additional training kit and footballs.
John McCrimmond, SYFA chairman, said: “We would like to express the utmost gratitude to James Anderson for this outstanding gesture and, of course, to the Scottish Football Partnership for their on-going support. The ability to provide an entire season of SYFA membership free of charge to every single team in Scotland will go some way to relieving this burden. Whilst the spotlight has been on the professional game, it is at the grassroots level that the vast majority of football in this country is played. Last season we had more than 60,000 registered players who haven’t been able to play football for more than four months now. This money will help ensure that we get as many of those players back on the pitch as possible.”
The SYFA cover age-groups up to and including Under-21’s with over 4000 teams and 62,293 players (2019-20), a record high. SYFA operational costs are predominantly covered by membership fees paid by their member teams.
Paul McNeill, Scottish FA Head of Community Development, said: “The Scottish FA is delighted with the SFP Trust’s announcement today of crucial funds that will help support grassroots clubs and volunteers as they continue to help bring the sport back to so many young people. Grassroots clubs have played a massive role in supporting the local community during the challenges of COVID-19 and this investment will provide much needed support during this period.”