The Scottish Football Association's drive to increase the number of registered female players has been given a boost with the recruitment of new club development officers.
The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has recruited six new girls and women's club development officers to help grow the female game across Scotland. The creation of the six new regional posts has been made possible by support from the Scottish government's CashBack for Communities programme.
The new staff – Sam Milne, Finella Annand, Michael McPake, Shirley Martin, Karen McConnell and Corrie Campbell – will be responsible for attempting to increase the number of registered female players by 1,500 a year.
SFA head of girls and women's football Sheila Begbie said: "More and more girls are playing football in Scotland, however the majority are not playing within the formal football structure. Whilst there are 27,000 girls playing football, there are only 2,500 players registered with clubs.
"These six new development officers will be charged with increasing the number of registered players in the game by 1,500 per year. They will also work to support the development of the structure and infrastructure of the existing clubs to ensure we support the integration of new players, and work to establish new clubs where existing clubs are at capacity or there are no clubs in the local area."
Previous investment from the CashBack for Communities initiative has helped the SFA to work with clubs in the association's Women's Premier Division in raising significantly the number of training sessions taking place. This investment is already reaping dividends for the Scottish game with Glasgow City LFC making it into the round of 16 of this season's UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The Scottish government's cabinet secretary for justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP, said: "Women's football is going from strength to strength in Scotland. The recent successes and achievements in the game have been outstanding. With ever-increasing numbers of girls taking up football, the appointment of six new club development officers will attract more registered players, giving them the opportunity to participate in our favourite sport for longer.
"This has been made possible thanks to the Scottish government's CashBack for Communities funding, a programme that makes crime pay by seizing cash from criminals and investing it in the young people of Scotland through an ever-growing series of sports and cultural diversionary and personal development activities."