Nationwide Building Society have signed a three-year partnership to support the Scottish FA Positive Play campaign – a football initiative reinforcing the importance of football by making it fun and encouraging boys (12 -18 years) and girls (13-19 years) to take part.

Britain’s biggest building society is committed to investing in and improving communities across the UK and hopes that it can use its position as a mutual organisation owned by its members and one of the UK’s largest financial services providers to enhance the Scottish FA’s campaign.

The Scottish FA’s Positive Play campaign promotes a positive learning environment and rewards clubs who focus on effort and respect for players, coaches, officials and parents (spectators) alike. The programme will focus on our youth players involved in the 11-a-side game and will promote fair play and reward the clubs and schools who create a positive playing ethos and help support the players to simply ‘let them play’.

Nationwide, which was sparked into action following growing levels of abuse towards its branch and call centre employees, has pledged to ensure that all football players across the UK are aware of mutual respect and have the appropriate tools to educate all those involved in the beautiful game.

Research from Nationwide shows that the UK is experiencing increased levels of disrespect, with 66 per cent of Brits saying levels have become unacceptable and 71 per cent feeling that the problem has got worse in the last two years.

Football remains a critical indicator for how wider Society feels and acts, with there being a strong link between encouraged positive behaviour on and off the pitch. And with football being by far the biggest team sport in the UK, Nationwide believes it can make a real difference through its support.

Sara Bennison, Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Supporting the Scottish FA on this campaign is truly exciting - by promoting the message of mutual respect in a meaningful and major way we hope we can play our part in encouraging a greater sense of community. We were founded on a social purpose and our commitment to supporting our members and the society we want to live in hasn’t changed.”

Head of Football Development Andrew Gould said: “By promoting a holistic learning environment, our ‘Positive Play’ campaign aims to positively shine a light on examples of fair play and respect among players, coaches and all those involved in the grassroots game.

“This exciting partnership with Nationwide will allow us to support teams and clubs at grassroots level. Nationwide’s ambition of improving communities across the UK is in line with the Scottish FA’s goals at the heart of the ‘Positive Play’ campaign.

“Furthermore, at a challenging time for all levels of football and society as a whole as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is encouraging to know there will be a welcome boost for youth football when sport can resume in full across the country.”

In addition to the Scottish FA Positive Play partnership, Nationwide has also signed deals with the Football Association of England, Irish Football Association and Football Association of Wales so that every UK home nation is supported.