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Pay if you play bid in Borders

Inter-school sports events are at risk from cutbacks in the Borders. Graeme Donald, assistant director of education of Scottish Borders Council, warns: "With the council cutting its budget, extracurricular activity is one area which will be hit badly. It could all lead to a general attitude of disenchantment."

It has been proposed that for regional sports events schools should pay an overall affiliation fee to cover participation. In time, individual entry fees to events might be introduced. The affiliation fee would be based on school size and it is anticipated that around Pounds 6,000 could be raised.

Area school sports associations may be asked to organise local events and raise sponsorship.

It is proposed that the structure be phased in within the next two academic years. "There is no new money around and it is a case of moving around to suit," Mr Donald says. "We will be limping our way through the first year but hopefully we will have a platform in place and we can build from there. "

Commercial sponsorship may eventually be considered.

Discussions will take place shortly with the council's leisure and recreation department on support for regional trials for national events and links between school sport and community sport.

A meeting of teachers to discuss the issues expressed concern that some schools discourage fund-raising for extracurricular activities and it was noted that the experience of hockey administrators in seeking affiliation from secondary schools has not been easy.

Jim Hay, the Scottish Rugby Union's development officer in the Borders, says: "We rely on the volunteer system and we are fortunate in the Borders to have good teaching staff in the schools who are also good rugby coaches and they keep school rugby going. But what incentive is there for other teachers other than PE teachers to get involved if they have to scrape money together through raffles and sponsored events for events.

"I'm a one-man band. If you take the fact that there are nine secondary schools and 72 primaries in the Borders, then there is only so much one man can do."

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