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Sport comes to terms with Dunblane

The tragedy at Dunblane has once again brought into question how far sports bodies can be expected to go in vetting coaches who work with children. The need for more guidelines has already led Scottish Schools Sports, formerly the Federation of Scottish School Sports Associations, to look at current practice.

However, until the findings of Lord Cullen are published, it is unlikely immediate action will be taken by any governing body. As one official said: "How can you legislate for a madman? This may only happen once in a hundred years."

As sports bodies seek to register as many coaches as possible, there is obviously concern but this must be balanced against not wishing to put off the volunteer who has become an important cog in the machine that is Scottish sport. The Scottish Sports Council recently acknowledged in its Sport 21 document that they have an important role to play.

Charles Raeburn, chairman of Scottish Schools Sports, comments: "It is a very emotive subject. In the past, there would maybe have been concerns about putting any system into place which could put any volunteer off. That has changed and maybe there should be some screening system by parents for coaches. But there has to be the ability to have some sort of management structure overseeing it."

Mr Raeburn discussed the matter briefly with representatives of the all-party committee for sport at Murrayfield earlier this week but admitted: "We did not go over the top about it."

The Scottish Schools Athletic Association has not had a committee meeting since Dunblane but stress that all coaches are fully qualified. If there is a consensus in sport that something must be done, there is also a feeling no system can legislate for every eventuality.

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