Scottish FA hits participation target ahead of schedule

The Scottish FA's flagship participation programme - the Tesco Bank Football Challenge - has reached its four-year target of getting 72,000 children active, six months ahead of schedule.

Ex-Scotland and Rangers defender David Weir, now a Scottish FA youth ambassador, announced the milestone for the community programme that 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.

“The latest participation figures show that the Tesco Bank Football Challenge continues to excel and now over 72,000 children have benefited from this great programme," said Weir.

"Encouraging children to keep fit and healthy within a fun environment is key to making sure that these habits are continued into adulthood.”

Run in partnership with the Scottish FA, the Tesco Bank Football Challenge sees 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.

Over 3,000 teachers and volunteers have also been engaged in in-service training, exceeding the initial target and allowing the programme to continue in schools, resulting in a rise in grassroots football clubs throughout Scotland.

Jim Fleeting, Scottish FA head of football development, said: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is one of the key programmes into the Scottish FA’s National Player Pathway and hopefully it will send them in the right direction in life and create a real love for the game along the way.”

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