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Grassroots football in the Scottish FA’s South East region was showcased to a delegation from their Icelandic, Foroese and Maltese counterparts recently as part of a UEFA Study Group scheme.
The scheme sees countries exchanging ideas on the development of grassroots football and offers the hosting nation the opportunity to highlight their various programmes within the game.
The Scottish FA’s football development director, Jim Fleeting, and Sheila Begbie, head of girls’ and women’s football, were among the guest speakers in Edinburgh.
The work being done to increase participation in the game, through club and coach development, community engagement, the National Player Pathway and Positive Coaching Scotland, was showcased.
Award-winning South East clubs Spartans and Broxburn United opened their doors to demostrate how they work within their communities.
David Drummond, Scottish FA South East regional manager, said: “It was a privilege to host this UEFA Study Group visit in Edinburgh.
“We were able to highlight the fine work being done in our region, and in the country, to ensure our national sport has a healthy and vibrant future.
“It was fascinating to learn about the work being done in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Malta and I hope they have taken some ideas away with them for future programmes.
"It was great to be able to offer our guest the opportunity to see the work of Spartans and Broxburn United. The impact they have made within their communities is trully inspirational."
Gudlaugur Gunnarsson ,Icelandic FA grassroots manager, said he been particularly inspired by the Scottish FA’s School of Football programme.
The School of Football programme, funded by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities fund, runs throughout the country at secondary schools where first and second year pupils receive specialist football coaching as part of their curriculum.
Gudlaugur said: “The whole trip was a very enjoyable experience. The School of Football presentation, especially, is something we can learn a lot from.
“We received excellent hospitality from the Scottish FA.”
Petur Simonsen, technical director at the Faroese FA, said he found the community programme presentations, which involve Edinburgh clubs Hearts and Hibs, of interest.
He added: ““I have enjoyed my visit here hugely. It’s been great to learn about the impact the Scottish FA is making in communities across the country.”
Joseph Mallia, from the Maltese FA, was complimentary of the Scottish hospitality.
He said: “It’s been a great trip. We have learned a lot during our time here. It’s been a good educational experience.”