The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has launched the Just Play programme – an initiative that intends to get more adults playing regular football regardless of their level, experience or ability.
The scheme, a joint venture between the SFA and corporate partner Mars, aims to get 2,000 adults in Scotland onto the pitch in 2011 with a series of football sessions to be organised this summer. The sessions are designed to encourage new or lapsed players to turn up and play in a well facilitated, easily accessed and fun environment.
The events will be hosted by a number of different clubs throughout the country, while selected universities and colleges will also stage one-day football festivals and regional five-a-side tournaments, engaging more than 1,000 students in total.
The initiative follows research by the SFA highlighting problems in the adult game. One of the study's main findings was that almost 60% of players would increase their frequency of play if more informal football opportunities were available to them.
The SFA's director of football development, Jim Fleeting, said: "We know there are many hurdles to the adult game in Scotland and this new scheme seeks to address and overcome some of those challenges. The Just Play programme will help us get people in Scotland back playing and should reignite Scotland's passion for playing the national game at grassroots level."
Former Scottish international Tom Boyd added his support, saying: "Grassroots football is crucial to the state of the game and the adult game needs to be part of this. We need to keep people in football and get players back kicking a ball. The Just Play scheme is a perfect way to achieve this – it is easier to get involved in, structured the right way, and should make getting back playing much easier."
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