SFA probe backs football for fun

The Scottish Schools Football Association is likely to escape unscathed from the independent review currently investigating the state of Scottish football. It is understood the review body, under former Scottish Football Association secretary Ernie Walker, will leave the schools association as an autonomous body.

However, it is likely to recommend that the Association of Scottish Youth Football Clubs, the Scottish Welfare FA and the Scottish Amateur Youth League are brought together under one body, separate from the schools association. There has been considerable concern over competitive pressures on young players and the SSFA has been keen to stress the fun element and to work with the SFA to develop the small-sided game.

Iain Munro, the Raith Rovers manager, said earlier this month: "Youth football has gone from being run by teachers who did not care whether you won or lost and who encouraged fun to a situation where seven-year-olds play 11-a-side only to win."

Con Duggan, past president of the SSFA, said: "The senior clubs must do coaching in a wider and more comprehensive sense and do it responsibly like the major clubs do on the continent."

The SSFA is now looking at targeting primary schools and becoming involved with the Scottish Women's Football Association in developing girls' football.

"We would like a greater number of primary schools people involved at national level and able to get their E, D and C junior coaching licences with the SFA," Mr Duggan said.

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