The Bank of Scotland Midnight League resumes for 2013 in Inverclyde tonight.

The Scottish FA’s flagship diversionary five-a-side football programme for 12 to 16-year-olds is now in its tenth year in the area.

The league is run nationwide by Scottish FA coaches within all 32 local authorities to over 6000 young people at 100 different venues.

The Lady Octavia Sports Centre in Greenock and Port Glasgow High School host the weekend events in Inverclyde and organiser Stuart Rafferty – football development officer for the West Region – is expecting the league to go from strength to strength.

Stuart said: “This is a part of Scotland where it rains a lot but, despite this, we have 50 or 60 children turn up every weekend to play football.

“We’re looking to establish links with Greenock Morton this year to, hopefully, offer the players who attend the league the chance to go to some games.

“Attendance numbers have continued to grow. I think the recent billboard campaign has had a big impact. It generated a lot of interest and I was being approached by parents in Greenock asking me when it was starting again after the festive break.”

Stuart - who was a former professional footballer with Dundee, Motherwell and Greenock Morton – said the success of the programme was due to its format.

“The players turn up, our coaches put them into teams and they play,” he added.

“The programme has stood the test of time and is up there with one of the best we offer for young people.”

The league has expanded its programme to include end of season finals at various SPL grounds and a player of the year event.

Research by Stirling University found the league had a positive impact on the local communities it was hosted in.

Instances of anti-social behaviour have dropped by as much as 30% in some local authority areas.

To find out when a Bank of Scotland Midnight League is resuming near you, click here.

Keep up-to-date with the latest football activities in the West region on Twitter @sfa_west