A highly decorated women’s football administrator who once scored a goal at the San Siro was today appointed head of women’s rugby in a radical move which crosses Scottish sporting boundaries.
As the dust settled on the £20 million deal that sees the game’s home re-named BT Murrayfield, it was immediately announced former Edinburgh Dynamos and Scotland footballer Sheila Begbie, who was awarded an MBE for services to women’s football in 2000, would be heading East from the SFA offices at Hampden Park.
Ms Begbie, a former PE teacher, is adamant that her skills are transferable between the two footballing codes, saying in a statement: “I would hope to transfer a lot of skills in terms of the strategic element of the work I’ve done at the Scottish FA, also the network of people I know and the development of partnerships, which are going to be critical in developing women’s and girls’ rugby in Scotland.
“We need to grow the game so we need to get more young girls active and playing rugby. I would envisage working with the regional staff and creating partnerships with government and stakeholders to have a very specific approach to working with girls.”
In leaving a post as SFA Head of Girls and Women’s Football, Sheila will report to Director of Rugby Scott Johnson, with a remit to cover everything from grassroots to performance levels.
First capped aged 15, after scoring against Italy in Milan in 1974 in one of Scotland’s early matches, Sheila went on to win a total of 25 caps and captained the national team.
Stewart Regan, Scottish Football’s Chief Executive, said: “Sheila will be a loss. Her drive, commitment, expertise and connections across sport and politics have helped the women’s game take huge leaps forward at all levels.”