On Thursday 22nd May, 200 young people from across the West of Scotland participated in the annual Bank of Scotland Midnight League West Regional Final at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium.

The Regional Final formed part of this year’s Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme which has been running since January at venues across all 32 Local Authorities in Scotland.

Teams from all over the West of Scotland were represented at the tournament which was played across three categories – Junior (12-13 year old boys), Senior (14-16 year old boys) and a Girls section. The sun shone down as play drew to a close with Ivory Toast winning the Junior section, North Ayrshire running out winners from the Seniors and Dumfries & Galloway coming out on top in the Girls section.  Dundee United and Scotland defender Andrew Robertson was on hand to lend his support and help with the medal and trophy presentations.

Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activity, targeting 12 to 16 year olds across the country. Run in partnership with the Scottish FA, and the government’s Cashback for Communities scheme, the Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme has expanded over the last 11 years to be established in all 32 Scottish local authorities with over 7500 young people participating across over 100 venues each year.

Research by the University of Stirling into the wider social effects and benefits of the programme returned some very positive observations. Over 90% of respondents believe that Bank of Scotland Midnight League has had a positive effect on their local community. The Leagues have also been credited with helping to break down social barriers between attendees and local police. Positive effects on individual participants were also noted as a major benefit with 74% of respondents stating they feel more responsible as a result of participation and 80% feeling fitter and healthier.

Robin Bulloch, Managing Director, Bank of Scotland Community Bank, commented: “Congratulations to all the teams on reaching the West Regional Final. Bank of Scotland is proud to continue its support for the Midnight League which provides the perfect platform for young people to practice their football skills – it’s free, safe and is played in a competitive but friendly environment. Providing the environment for young people to develop as football players and as individuals can only be of benefit to local communities all over Scotland.”