Scottish FA Chief Executive Stewart Regan has highlighted the importance of a healthy grassroots game to the future of Scottish football.
Creating opportunities for everyone to play the game and supporting them through funding are vital to nurturing the next generation of Scottish talent, he believes.
“Grassroots is where it starts for any player coming into Scottish football and our job is to get as many young people interested in playing the game as possible,” said Regan.
“Every professional player playing for Scotland started out as a grassroots player – playing for a boys club or a girls club and creating their passion for the game.
“What we need to do is to make sure that we can provide the necessary coaching skills, facilities and volunteers to give them the opportunities to get involved.”
Regan was speaking at the official opening of improved facilities at Back Football and Recreation Club on the Isle of Lewis, including a refurbished and newly-enclosed 3G pitch which will allow football to be played all year round.
The facility improvement was funded by sportscotland and Cashback for Communities – a scheme which uses the financial gains from crime to fund new sporting facilities that will be used to drive youth participation and development across Scotland.
“I’m delighted that we’ve teamed up with the Scottish Government through their Cashback for Communities Programme, because that gives us a number of opportunities to invest, for example in facilities and also to invest in trying to bring more volunteers into the game,” said Regan
“Our money helps to train the volunteers and the government’s Cashback money is used for initiatives like that.
“We also have a programme running for equality in football and that is really to allow opportunities for everybody – disabled players, players from black and ethnic minorities, more investment in the women’s game – and create chances for everybody who wants to play the game to participate.”
The interview with Regan, which can viewed in full below, also covered Scotland’s recent improved performance in the Victory Shield and the progress of the new Scottish Performance Schools.
The Chief Executive also spoke about the Scottish Professional Football League Play-Offs, the SFA’s bid for Glasgow to be a host city for Euro 2020, the proposed UEFA Nations League and the SFA’s progress towards their strategic plan, Scotland United: A 2020 Vision.