Scotland plans first ever national sports centre

Football will take centre stage at Scotland's first ever national sports centre.

Sports Minister Shona Robison announced that the new National Performance Centre for sport would be "a multi-sports centre with football very much at its heart".

The centre will include a National Football Academy, delivering on the Scottish government's promise to deliver an academy by 2016.

Scottish Football Association Chief Executive Stewart Regan will chair a steering group to take forward plans for the centre, which will receive £25 million of investment from the Scottish Government’s Young Scots Fund.

The group, who will meet for the first time in March, has been tasked with setting out the criteria for bids from local authorities wishing to bring the centre to their area and agree a timetable for completion.

Ms Robison said: “Football is Scotland’s national game and, building on our record investment in the sport, we want to build the foundations of future success for our national sides.

"One of the key recommendations of the McLeish Review into Scottish football was the establishment of a new national football centre. Despite the challenges which Scottish football is facing, the Government’s commitment to developing and improving our national game remains undiminished.

"Delivery of a new National Performance Centre is a key commitment and today’s announcement is the first step towards delivery of that commitment."

The Sports Minister said that the centre will "give sports men and women, including grassroots footballers, the chance to develop their skills, delivering a tangible legacy from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as well as building on our investment into elite athletes for 2014 and beyond.”

Mr Regan said:  “I am delighted to be chairing the National Performance Centre steering group. The commitment to the NPC is a hugely significant step forward not just for Scottish football but Scottish sport and culture.

The SFA Chief Executive described the centre as "integral" to his organiation's Performance Strategy and said it will "provide our most talented young sportsmen and women with the platform to fulfil their potential."

“The Scottish FA has shown its commitment to elite talent development by appointing our first Performance Director, Mark Wotte, and investing £15m over the next four years in the performance area. We are delighted the Scottish Government share our vision,” he added.

Henry McLeish, who recommended the centre as part of his wide-ranging review of Scottish football, said: “I am absolutely delighted at this announcement which is a huge boost for both football and sport in this country at this time.

"This was one of the main recommendations in my Review of Football and is another positive step towards both helping deliver sporting excellence whilst also supporting grassroots sport.

"Young people are the future and this announcement today will bring about a real change for them and the nation to look forward to."

Further details on the centre are expected to be announced after the steering group’s first meeting, due to be held in March.

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