A new UEFA-backed strategy launched today by the Scottish FA outlines how the national game can positively impact society across a broad range of societal issues.

The Scottish FA’s Football Social Responsibility (SFSR) strategy encompasses both social and environmental issues, aiming to promote sustainability in a total of 11 policy areas such as child & youth protection, equality & inclusion, and the circular economy.

The three-year strategy adopts the framework of UEFA’s Strength Through Unity strategy, with targets and outcomes set across the 11 policies that support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In doing so, the FSR strategy aims to lays the groundwork for inspiring collaborative action across Scottish football with stakeholders across all levels – clubs, fans, players, and government agencies – to address the societal and environmental issues affecting the national game.

The strategy’s overarching goals within environmental sustainability pillar focus on minimising the Scottish FA’s own carbon footprint and leading on implementation of sustainable practices in all aspects of Scottish football, ranging from resource management to waste control.

It outlines existing Scottish FA initiatives such as the Scottish FA Grassroots Pitch & Facilities Fund, which supports football facility projects prioritising sustainability, and partnering with Zero Waste Scotland to offer free environmental support to football clubs across the country.

It also sets new goals such as positioning Hampden Park as a role model in sustainability for stadia across Scotland, embedding UEFA’s circular economy approach to minimise the impact of football on the environment, to working with SPFL clubs to calculate stadium carbon footprints in the future and building individual club carbon reduction plans.  

The goals in social sustainability aim to position Scottish football as accessible and inclusive to all as possible, by promoting health and wellbeing, safeguarding children and youths, and striving to ensure that Scottish football is more reflective of the demographic of Scottish society.

The FSR strategy outlines existing initiatives in place at the Scottish FA such as the delivery of a Grassroots Discrimination Online Reporting Tool, its partnership with LEAP Sport Scotland in implementing the Football vs Homophobia strategy and the creation of the world’s first ever para-football Affiliated National Association, Scottish Para-Football.

It also outlines an array of new targets in social sustainability including growing the diverse representation within Scottish football, integrating under-represented groups in the coaching workforce, and removing barriers for para footballers to participate in football across Scotland.  

Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell: “As the national association, we firmly believe that we have a responsibility to use the power of football to promote and develop sustainability to help ensure that society is equipped to deal with not just the issues it currently faces, but also the issues of the future.

“Football has an inherent ability to drive positive change across a wide range of crucial societal areas, many of which are rapidly evolving. It is incumbent upon us to use this unique power to lead, educate and inspire Scottish football’s wide array of stakeholders to help us tackle these developing issues.           

“The launch of this strategy today is a positive step in what will be an ongoing journey for both the Scottish FA and all those involved in Scottish football, as we aim to continue developing a thriving, sustainable and inclusive game for years to come.”