21 March 2023

Free football club memberships for underprivileged children, pledges Yousaf

21 March 2023

SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf has pledged to give youngsters from deprived backgrounds free football club memberships if elected party leader and first minister.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a football ground in Edinburgh, the Health Secretary said he would look to partner with football’s ruling body in Scotland – the SFA – to deliver the initiative, which he claims would tackle obesity, improve community engagement and develop young talent.

He has also said he would accelerate the roll out of the so-called “Fan Bank”, a fund which would help local communities buy stakes in their sports clubs.

As Scotland’s next First Minister I want to work with the SFA to harness the full power of football

“One of our great assets in Scotland is our love of the beautiful game, and as Scotland’s next first minister I want to work with the SFA to harness the full power of football,” he said.

“I want to help develop our grassroots clubs where every community in Scotland has a football club that boys and girls can access free of charge – particularly in areas of deprivation.

“Initially, I would want to see this roll out targeted towards children for low income households who may struggle to pay for the costs of football club memberships in the midst of this cost of living crisis.

“In my current role, I have already started talks with a view to entering into a strategic partnership with the SFA to see how we can work together to maximise the reach of football for the benefit of our communities.”

On the fan bank rollout – which was pledged in the SNP’s 2021 manifesto – Mr Yousaf added: “As a massive football fan myself, I know that both on and off the field clubs that are rooted in their communities can help transform lives.

“Fans should have real influence over the future of the clubs they love and support.

“So as first minister, I’ll accelerate the SNP’s bold football Fan Bank that will give fans access to funds that will give them a real say over how their clubs are run – be that buying a small stake in the club or perhaps outright ownership.

“Fan Bank will help make a positive change to football that’s often run for wealthy business people, and instead put real power in the hands of the paying punters and the local community.”

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