Giffnock Soccer Centre’s open letter to Ian Maxwell & John McCrimmond – “Summer Football Must Be Central To The Path Out Of Lockdown For The Grassroots Game”

Date: 11th March 2021

Giffnock Soccer Centre, home to 1000 youth footballers, has sent an Open Letter calling for the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Youth Football Association to urgently act to ensure players can recover some of the football that has been lost to them over the lockdown. As lockdown starts to ease, the club is calling for a plan-of-action to safeguard the futures of young players many of whom may have suffered mental and physical health impacts as a result of the loss of organised sport.

you can read the open letter here: Giffnock SC Open Letter to SFA 10.03.21

The letter focuses on 5 key areas:

  • a clear action plan from the SFA and SYFA outlining how we can return our young players back to football safely in a way which saves clubs and reclaim as much of the playing time they have lost as possible
  • practical plans for the introduction of Summer football this season for all youth football leagues to offset the health impacts of lockdown
  • a framework of collaboration with Scotland’s 32 local authorities to make facilities available for Summer football
  • specific plans for reaching young people in circumstances of social isolation who may have dropped out of the game and also supporting clubs who are facing financial challenges and an uncertain future
  • an explanation of how going forward governing bodies will consult with members to ensure grassroots voices are not only heard, but any policy/actions taken are informed by and properly represent grassroots’ concerns.

Fergus Reid, Committee Member at Giffnock Soccer Centre, commented: “We don’t question that the people running the game in Scotland care and that they have been working hard and under pressure during the pandemic. However all too often youth football has been communicated as an after-thought or missed out altogether. There’s no point in waiting until lockdown is lifted to think about salvaging the grassroots game. We need action now. It’s critical our governing bodies lead on bringing the clubs and other partners together to create a plan to support clubs focused on bringing all youth players back to the game. Concrete planning to introduce Summer football this year would be a good starting point. This is our national game and we risk losing a generation of players to gaming consoles and ill health.”

We at the SFSA recognise the importance of grassroots football and the impact that lockdown has had on young players and their clubs across the country. While no one is disputing the need for a pause in operations to tackle the pandemic and to ensure the spread of the virus is kept to a minimum, the governing bodies have a responsibility to plan and guide players, fans and coaches alike from all levels of the game, not just the top level. Therefore a plan is needed as we start looking towards a return to normality in the coming months.

you can find the Giffnock Soccer Centre here:

Website: Giffnock Soccer Centre Home – Football For All



Photo by Pete Devlin

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