Sports clubs 'need to reopen' after youngsters turn to drink and drugs during Covid lockdown
Sports clubs are facing financial obstacles to starting up again after lockdown, according to boxing hero and Lothian Alba candidate Alex Arthur.
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He says it's vital clubs can resume activities because many young people previously involved in sport have turned to.drugs and alcohol during lockdown.
But he claims sporting associations like Boxing Scotland are unfairly charging clubs for affiliation and insurance even though they have been closed.
The former super-featherweight world champion said: "We've not had anybody in and out the clubs so there's not been any money coming in and the boxing associations are trying to charge everybody hundreds of pounds for insurance and affiliation.
"Sportscotland have given Boxing Scotland a lot of money and we don't understand why they need more. A lot of the clubs haven't got that money to pay.
"England and elsewhere getting free affiliation for the year, which is the way it should be to get everybody up and running and let the clubs recover a bit.”
He said the financial burden could mean some clubs struggle to get back up and running.
"That would be terrible for Scottish boxing and the young people who box.
"I'm hearing so many cases of young people quitting, turning to alcohol, taking drugs who were involved in sport before this pandemic kicked off.
“There has been so much done to protect the elderly and the vulnerable but the just forget about the youth. We’ve lost a heck of lot of talented young people – they’ve gained weight, made poor decision about what they're eating, they're not training and a lot of them are turning to alcohol and drugs. There have been suicides among athletes. We have to start trying to recover as soon as possible."
Alba has called for free access to sports facilities including golf, football pitches, gyms and swimming pools for under-18s as part of the Covid recovery plan.
Boxing Scotland chief executive Chris Roberts said many clubs had been operating via Zoom during lockdown, Boxing Scotland had assisted clubs to access funding of over £500,000 during the pandemic and affiliation had been offered at half price for 2020/21.
“We have been driving hard to support our clubs. Through the Boxing Scotland roadshows that we have been delivering, we know the clubs are in full support of our organisation.”