Milestone for Scottish FA as Tesco Bank Football Challenge hits 50,000 mark
Over 50,000 children have engaged in the Scottish FA's flagship participation programme, the Tesco Bank Football Challenge, it was announced today (Thursday).
Former Bolton manager and Scottish FA youth ambassador, Owen Coyle, described the news as a "fantastic moment" for the programme.
“The earlier we give children the chance to play football and enjoy the game, the better," said Coyle.
"Not only have 50,000 had fun with the Scottish FA’s qualified coaches, but children are engaging in healthier lifestyles and schools are benefiting from the legacy training their staff undertook to allow the ethos of the programme to continue.”
The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The project introduces football to Primary Two and Primary Three children (six to eight years old) across Scotland to help get them engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle.
It received a UEFA Silver Grassroots Award in August making it one of the best programmes of its kind in Europe.
Children participate in a six week block of football coaching with qualified Scottish FA coaches, before participating in regional festivals across the country, many of which are held at high profile venues. A national festival at Hampden Park brings the school year of football to a memorable close.
The original target of 72,000 children across 1,600 primary schools, during the lifespan of the project should now be exceeded. More than 1,000 primary schools in Scotland are already engaged, accounting for over 40% of all schools in the country.
The SFA's head of football development Jim Fleeting described the project as "one of the outstanding Scottish FA youth football programmes.
"This milestone only motivates us to continue to provide opportunities for children to play football for fun, create a real love for the game, whilst promoting active lifestyles,” said Fleeting.
Adele Mills, community investment manager at Tesco Bank added: “Tesco Bank is proud to partner the Scottish FA in delivering this outstanding programme to children in primary schools the length and breadth of the country. We are committed to giving back to the communities we serve by engaging in activity with a real social purpose.
"There can be no doubt that the way the Tesco Bank Football Challenge has be developed over the last two and a half years is wonderful for everyone involved – most importantly, the children.”
To find out more visit tescobank.com