Government and Scottish FA join forces to deliver National Football Academy
Shona Robison today kicked off plans to deliver Scotland’s first National Performance Centre for sport.
The Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport announced that up to £25 million from the Scottish Government’s Young Scots Fund would be ploughed into the initiative.
She revealed that a steering group, chaired by Scottish Football Association Chief Executive Stewart Regan, would take forward plans for the centre.
The group has been tasked with setting out the criteria for bids from local authorities wishing to bring the centre to their area and agree a timetable for completion. More details on the next steps in the process will be announced following the steering group’s first meeting, which is set to be held in March.
The new facility will feature a multi-sports performance centre including a National Football Academy.
Today’s news marks the first stage in the commitment to delivering a national football academy by 2016. In light of the importance the Scottish Government attaches to sport as a whole, the facility will also have the potential to cater for other sports.
Ms Robison said:
“Football is Scotland’s national game and, building on our record investment in the sport, we want to build the foundations of future success for our national sides. One of the key recommendations of the McLeish Review into Scottish football was the establishment of a new national football centre.
“Despite the challenges which Scottish football is facing, the Government’s commitment to developing and improving our national game remains undiminished. Delivery of a new National Performance Centre is a key commitment and today’s announcement is the first step towards delivery of that commitment.
“I am delighted that Stewart Regan of the Scottish FA has agreed to chair a steering group which will look at the creation of what will be known as the National Performance Centre, a multi-sports centre with football very much at its heart. Stewart has been tasked with gathering a group to scope the project, setting out the criteria by which bids from local authorities and their partners will be assessed and agree a timetable for completion.
“Backed by funding of £25m from our Young Scots Fund, a youth talent initiative to give Scots a fair chance to realise their potential, the National Performance Centre will give sports men and women, including grassroots footballers, the chance to develop their skills, delivering a tangible legacy from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as well as building on our investment into elite athletes for 2014 and beyond.”
Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive, said:
“I am delighted to be chairing the National Performance Centre steering group. The commitment to the NPC is a hugely significant step forward not just for Scottish football but Scottish sport and culture.
“It reinforces our relationship with the Scottish Government and this joint commitment is integral to the Scottish FA’s Performance Strategy. It is our intention to work in partnership with other sports to maximise the use and accessibility of existing facilities but also to ensure new ones, like the National Performance Centre, will provide our most talented young sportsmen and women with the platform to fulfil their potential.
“The Scottish FA has shown its commitment to elite talent development by appointing our first Performance Director, Mark Wotte, and investing £15m over the next four years in the performance area. We are delighted the Scottish Government share our vision.”
Henry McLeish said:
“ I am absolutely delighted at this announcement which is a huge boost for both football and sport in this country at this time. This was one of the main recommendations in my Review of Football and is another positive step towards both helping deliver sporting excellence whilst also supporting grassroots sport.
" I am delighted with the significant progress made on my recommendations by the Government and the Scottish FA since my Review was published and by committing to this National Performance Centre the Government are again clearly demonstrating they are committed to our national game and sport in general.
" Young people are the future and this announcement today will bring about a real change for them and the nation to look forward to."
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said:
“The National Performance Centre is a tremendous concept that will complement the world-class sporting facilities that already exist and are under construction in Scotland with the help of our partners, and help develop the skills of Scotland’s talented sportsmen and women.
“ sportscotland is delighted to bring to the Steering Group the expertise and experience we have accrued in constructing and delivering large-scale infrastructure projects like the National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Aberdeen Sports Village, and the extensive refurbishment of the Tollcross Aquatic Centre.”
Joining Stewart Regan will be five steering group members:
Paul Bush OBE - Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, Scotland’s National Events Agency, which works to attract, generate and sustain a portfolio of world-class events. Paul is responsible for the development of Scotland’s major international sports and cultural events strategy. This has included work on events such as Ryder Cup 2014, Commonwealth Games 2014, World Cross Country Championships, Edinburgh International Festivals, MOBO and numerous other international events
Alistair Gray - Current Chair of British Swimming and former Chair of British Performance Basketball and President/Chair of Scottish Hockey. He was also the founding Chair of the Scottish Institute of Sport from 1996 to 2006. He is a director of Renaissance & Co, a consulting firm specialising in strategic management of business and sport. He recently worked with the Scottish FA on the development of their performance strategy which identified the need for a National Performance Centre
Douglas Potter - Chair of the High Performance Group (Hockey) in Scotland. In this independent role he aligns the High Performance efforts of Scottish and GB Hockey with the support services provided by sportscotland. He is a former GB and Scotland captain who represented his country over 120 times. In his day job Douglas is Technical Services Director of Chesapeake Ltd, a global 5,000 people strong and £500 million turnover packaging company which includes three manufacturing sites in Scotland. He is responsible for specification, procurement and commissioning of £multi million capital investments.
Stewart Harris - Stewart was appointed as the Chief Executive of sportscotland in November 2005. He previously held positions at sportscotland of Acting Chief Executive and Director of Widening Opportunities. Stewart brings a wealth of experience to the role including 12 years as a PE teacher, a lifelong involvement with basketball in Scotland as a board member, club and international coach for 25 years at both Scottish and Great Britain students level, as well as extensive experience of working with local authorities.
Sheila Begbie - Sheila is the Head of Women’s and Girls’ Football at the Scottish FA. She is responsible for the strategic development of the girls'/women's game. Her role includes developing partnerships to promote the girls'/women's game with a variety of key agencies and establishing links with tertiary education to support development of elite performers. Sheila is a Vice Chairwoman in the UEFA Women's Committee at UEFA and also a Match Delegate.