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Scottish Football Q & A Forum

held at Stirling University
Monday 28th September 2009

BairnsTrust's Committee members, Steven Jackson, Brian Guthrie, and Tom Paterson attended a forum on the future of Scottish football on the evening of Monday 28th September along with representatives from Falkirk Football Club and around 200 other delegates. The top table consisted of Gordon Smith, chief executive of the SFA; David Longmuir, chief executive of SFL; Ian Blair, chief executive of the SPL; James Proctor, development manager of Supporters Direct; Henry Mcleish, who is conducting a review of Scottish Football; Fraser Wishart of the Scottish PFA; and Jim Spence, who chaired the meeting.

All top table speakers talked about where they saw the game at the moment and where they aspire to be going, and then a Q&A session took place, with the meeting totalling around 2 hours. None of the top table think the game at large is in a bad way, although like everything else they would like to see improvements. Questions from the floor covered finance, a pyramid system, ownership of clubs, the performance of the international team, the purpose of the review into Scottish football, and the development of youngsters among other topics.

Two possible developments which had support were:

1. The SFL and SPL would like to see a pyramid system introduced which would involve the bottom team in the 3rd division dropping out and maybe one league or two leagues sitting below this similar to the conference in England, arranged on a geographical basis. The SPL are not so keen on increasing access to their league, for obvious reasons.

2. Summer football for kids is an area Henry McLeish called for, it being pointless kids being deprived of a game on a Saturday because of frozen pitches. There was very little support for professional summer football after a show of hands in the hall.

The impression taken from the conference was that change will be hard to come by though, there is some willingness, but no more than that at the moment. The vast majority in attendance thought that no change would result from the Review.

The evening was a worthwhile event, and the BairnsTrust committee met with representatives from Supporters Direct as well as other Trusts, which is helpful as BairnsTrust continue to build contacts and share experience with other supporters around the country.



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