The Scottish FA is to create the world’s first Affiliated National Association (ANA) dedicated to Para-Football.
Following an investment of more than £100,000 from the Scottish FA, the Scottish Para-Football Association will empower individual Para-Football organisations to run their game according to their own wishes.
The Scottish Para-Football Association will include different associations governing a variety of types of Para-Football, including Amputee Football, Cerebral Palsy Football, Deaf Football, Frame Football, Learning Disability Football, Mental Health Football, Powerchair Football and Visual Impairment Football.
It will provide sustainability for the individual Para-Football associations, recognising the demands placed on their volunteers and allowing them to grow at a speed suitable for their own needs.
The announcement came at the inaugural Scottish Para-Football Conference, held at the National Sports Training Centre in Largs on Sunday, 18 February.
The Conference welcomed affiliates from Para-Football associations across the country to network, share best practice on Para-Football initiatives and hear from guest speakers, including Aileen Campbell, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport.
Andrew Gould, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA: “We are delighted to be at the leading edge of innovation in Para-Football through the creation of the world’s first Para-Football Affiliated National Association.
“Para-Football is a key element of our One National Plan, our grassroots football strategy launched last year, and the creation of the Scottish Para-Football Association through this significant investment further demonstrates our commitment to providing football for all.
“It is important for us to allow Para-Football players to make decisions affecting their league and national team for themselves, and the Scottish Para-Football Association will empower the individuals playing the game to run their own game.”
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Sport: “With the creation of the Scottish Para-Football Association – believed to be the first of its kind in the world – Scotland is leading the way globally in creating pathways for people to participate in football and fulfil their potential.
“Everybody should have the opportunity to live active lifestyles and take part in sport, and the importance of the work in creating the new association and its mission cannot be overstated.
“I am also delighted to be at the National Sports Training Centre for both this announcement and to be part of the first Scottish FA Para-Football Conference.
“This venue has world-class facilities for people of all abilities and all ages, making it the perfect place to hear about the Scottish FA’s commitment to Para-Football.”
Ashly Reid, Founder and Chief Executive of Amputee Football Association Scotland: “We have enjoyed working closely with the Scottish FA since Amputee Football Association Scotland was set up in April 2017 and we believe the creation of this Affiliated National Association marks a huge step forward for AFAS and for other Scottish Para-Football organisations.
“While benefiting from the support and guidance of the Scottish Para-Football Association, this move will give individual Para-Football organisations the autonomy they need to run their programmes in the most informed and appropriate way.
The creation of the ANA sets a benchmark in Para-Football, ensuring fairness, sustainability and empowerment, and we feel positive about the future of Para-Football in Scotland.”