Thursday, April 08, 2010

Yoof culture

I promise this will be the last post on the depressing inadequacies of the game's administrators for a long time. Well, a day or two at least.

But today's Herald investigation into youth football in Scotland is an interesting if predictably unsettling read.

It centres on the failings of the SFA's youth intiative and the conflict it has caused with boys' club football.

A typical story of the SFA thinking "we can do this" and failing to recognise that their most useful role might be working alongside and supporting the mechanisms that were already in place. But then dictatorships tend not to do partnership working. It didn't work out too well for Hitler and Stalin after all.

There is also the more serious issue of the initiative's use of public money. A petition, about to be discussed at Holyrood, is calling for the SFA to provide a comprehensive audit trail of where they've spent the £12.3 million of taxpayer's cash they've received in the last three years.

There's no evidence of anything more sinister than a misdirected scheme but the idea of Gordon Smith having to explain all this to a parliamentary committee should be a major source of embarrassment for the SFA.

What angers me most is not so much that the scheme appears to be failing in its ultimate aim of improving the game. That was predictable. Worse than that the power it gives senior clubs and the way it treats the kids is actually robbing children of the chance to enjoy the game. "Taking The Fun Out Of Football" is an unusual slogan for a national association to adopt.

Take a peek at www.realgrassroots.co.uk to find out more about how traditional boys' clubs are responding to what they consider to be the threat of the SFA's scheme.

On The Other Hand


Sometimes they can respond, slowly, but they can do it:
The Scottish Football Association has drafted a plan for an independent, three-strong panel to examine appeals against disciplinary decisions.

It present, match officials decide whether an appeal can proceed.

Hearts' Jim Jefferies, St Mirren's Gus MacPherson and Hibernian's John Hughes are backing the proposed change.