The Scottish FA has today launched Give for Grassroots, a new support fund that will allow fans of Scottish football to help grassroots clubs continue to provide for children within their local communities.

With COVID-19 having had a severely detrimental impact on grassroots football across the country, many clubs are facing financial difficulty, with the potential for thousands of young players to drop out of playing the game.

Some 57 percent of Scottish grassroots clubs are currently facing critical financial challenges in the coming months, with both player and volunteer numbers already lower compared to pre-lockdown levels.

The Grassroots Football Support Fund, Give for Grassroots, has been set up by the Scottish FA, with support from its charity partner ‘The Scottish Football Partnership Trust’ (SC044867). It will help ensure young football players across the country have the opportunity to return to the game they love.

Launched as part of UEFA Grassroots week, the Scottish FA have already kicked off the Give for Grassroots Appeal with a £50,000 donation to the initiative – and are now encouraging fans across Scotland to donate.

All donations will be managed by the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, allowing affiliated grassroots football clubs to apply for funds to give the growing number of disadvantaged young people in their community the chance to play  and remain part of the football family. The fund can also be accessed to cover critical equipment and facility costs.

Scotland supporters who purchased tickets for the postponed UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Semi-Final against Israel also have the option to contribute to the fund.

Ticket purchasers for the game are set to receive their refunds within the next week, with the refund process offering those fans the option to donate the refunded price of their ticket to Give for Grassroots.

All money raised by the fund will go directly towards children’s grassroots football in Scotland, providing vital financial assistance during these difficult times and allowing young people to continue to play the game they love.

Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell: “We are acutely aware at the Scottish FA just how vital grassroots football is for children across the nation and how much the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected that.

“There is a real danger that many children across Scotland will be lost to the game as a result of their grassroots clubs suffering financially from the impact of the pandemic, which is a situation I am not willing to countenance.

“While the Scottish FA have strived to provide all the assistance to community clubs that we possibly can, we know that many of them still face significant financial challenges.

 “We have been working tirelessly to provide assistance to grassroots clubs since COVID-19 emerged, to help ensure these vital clubs are still there for young people within their communities when life is able to return to a semblance of normality. 

“With the launch of Give for Grassroots, we’re offering the chance for all football fans in Scotland to make a difference to children and clubs across the country through this initiative.

“We were delighted to kick-start the fund with a £50,000 donation from the Scottish FA and we hope others will follow suit in supporting this cause, which will make a huge difference for young people across Scotland.

“While we know we won’t have the full house in Hampden Park that we so desperately wanted for our UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off next month, we hope that some of the fans who should have been there to support the team will decide instead to lend their support to grassroots football by donating the price of their ticket to the fund.

“It has been incredibly impressive to see how the nation has pulled together over the last few months to combat this virus. I would ask now for fans of Scottish football to continue to pull together, to ensure that grassroots clubs can continue to provide for their communities.”

Stuart McCaffrey, Scottish Football Partnership Trust Chief Operating Officer: “At the Scottish Football Partnership Trust we know just how important grassroots football is for children across the nation, extending far beyond the invaluable physical health and mental wellbeing benefits participation provides.

“We recognise that the entire world has been hit badly by the impact of this pandemic and that grassroots clubs have been struggling as a result of this.

“We are delighted to be able to support the Scottish FA in this cause and hope that we can count on the support of football fans across Scotland in ensuring that all children can go on enjoying the game through the continued hard work of their local clubs.”

To donate to Give for Grassroots, visit virginmoneygiving.com/fund/GiveForGrassroots