Grassroots football in Scotland will benefit from a one-off investment of nearly €6m from a Scottish government communities programme.
Scottish member of parliament and justice secretary Kenny MacAskill confirmed that grants ranging from €20,000 to €700,000 will be made available to more than 20 groups across the country. The investment will help to build new facilities or upgrade existing football grounds.
The money comes from the government's CashBack for Communities scheme, whereby funds recovered from criminals are used to increase the opportunities for young people to develop their interests and skills, particularly in areas of high crime.
"As one of our CashBack partners, the Scottish Football Association [SFA] is helping us ensure the ill-gotten gains of criminals can be put to good use by keeping youngsters out of trouble and hopefully unearthing future Scotland football stars," said MacAskill.
The justice secretary also revealed a three-year extension of the core CashBack funding for the SFA's work with young people. The SFA has been awarded €3.5m to develop its programme of free football activities through the Street Football and Midnight League projects.
This additional funding will also go towards expanding the Schools of Football initiative, which offers first-class coaching and football sessions to pupils throughout Scotland during the school day.
"The additional funding for facilities projects will be invaluable for youth clubs and community groups, and will help us to strengthen the game from top to bottom and create a bright future for football in Scotland," said Jim Fleeting, SFA director of football development.
Since the Scottish government launched the CashBack for Communities programme in 2007, more than €45m has been raised and given to a variety of community schemes.
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