Four regional finals bring the Bank of Scotland Midnight League season to a thrilling climax
Over 600 young footballers across Scotland have been battling it out in the regional finals of the Bank of Scotland Midnight League, which drew to a close at Falkirk Stadium this month.
The south-east final, held at the home of Falkirk FC, drew the curtain on a series of four regional finals held over three weeks - the culmination of this year’s Midnight League programme, which has been running since January in communities across all 32 local authorities in Scotland.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Midnight League is the Scottish FA’s flagship five-a-side football programme for 12 to 16-year-olds. It provides weekly sessions run by Scottish FA coaches, usually held on Friday and Saturday evenings, to provide a positive outlet for young people.
The league is supported by CashBack for Communities - a Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland.
This year the SFA introduced the new ‘Community Captains’ initiative to the programme, which saw each team nominate a captain whose responsibility was to organise their squad’s attendance, encourage good behaviours and promote the sessions on a weekly basis. Over 85 teams attended the regional finals thanks to the Community Captains scheme.
Falkirk FC stalwart Mark Kerr presented medals and trophies to players at the south-east regional final, where he passed on some words of wisdom to the Community Captains.
“I am honoured to support the Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme," said Kerr. "It all began here for me as a youngster at Falkirk FC, so to see over 220 young male and female footballers grace the hallowed turf is outstanding.
"It is clear to see the joy and happiness each player gets from Midnight Leagues. Allowing hundreds of youngsters on a weekly basis to play free football in a safe environment must have a positive effort on local communities across Scotland.”
CashBack for Communities has supported the Scottish FA since 2008 to deliver a wide range of activities for young people in their communities. Along with the Midnight League project, this has included the roll out of the Schools of Football concept.
Find your local Midnight League session on scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague. If you wish to become a Community Captain, all the information you require is available when you sign up.
Images courtesy of ScottishFA.co.uk.