David Taylor, the CEO of UEFA Events SA, was among the dignitaries present as the Scottish Football Association (SFA) held an afternoon of children's football activities before the Scottish Cup final in Glasgow to celebrate UEFA Grassroots Day.
The SFA arranged a come-and-try day at Lesser Hampden, in the shadow of the Hampden Park national stadium, before the match between Celtic FC and Motherwell FC on 21 May. For two hours, youngsters were able to join in free activities at various fun skills stations, while adults were given the opportunity to learn more about the SFA's grassroots work and coaching courses.
"We really need to recognise that grassroots football is the lifeblood of Scottish football going forward," said SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. "Scottish football will always be looked on by how the national team is performing, particularly the men's team, which carries the majority of the media value. But behind the scenes the SFA does some fantastic work, particularly in the grassroots area with the development of young kids and coaches. All that is important to deliver a stronger, more vibrant game for the future."
The event enabled the SFA to showcase two key grassroots programmes – the Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) initiative and the new SFA National Player Pathway. The PCS scheme targets coaches, parents, volunteers, match officials and players through workshops and resources aimed at creating a more respectful game, with the focus on encouraging effort, learning and improved performance, and redefining 'winning'.
Meanwhile, the SFA recently redefined its National Player Pathway structure to ensure that all young players in Scotland play a format of the game that the association feels best suits their age and stage of development. These changes were highlighted in Glasgow as children from the community programmes of Celtic, Motherwell and Queen's Park FC participated in four-a-side, seven-a-side and 11-a-side matches.
Emphasising the importance of UEFA Grassroots Day, Mr Taylor, formerly SFA chief executive, said: "It's about making sure we don't forget at the highest levels that football is about kids and it's about their enjoyment of the game. We want to create structures right across Europe to promote football and not just have UEFA thought of in terms of the UEFA Champions League and a high level of football. It all starts with the grassroots."
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