‘It’s a beautiful game – let’s keep it that way’

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It’s meant to be the beautiful game but far too often these days it seems to turn ugly.

Yet again today we report how a football match has had to be abandoned because of trouble.

And this time it was not a Sunday pub league game that boiled over – it was a match between schoolboys supposedly being marshalled by responsible adults.

This needs to be nipped in the bud right away. Many parents and teachers across the Lothians give up their free time every weekend to ensure that children can enjoy playing sport and at the same time learn about teamwork, respect and good sportsmanship. It would be a travesty if the actions of a few were to ruin the fun and enjoyment for everyone else.

We would not advocate removing the competitive element of the game but the very fact that there was “bad blood” in a South-East Region schoolboy cup tie tells you that something is very wrong.

There’s no doubt much of this is learned from watching so-called pros on TV, but it is also ridiculous that “fans”, especially parents, scream abuse from the sidelines instead of supporting both sets of players.

Those in charge of not just these two clubs but also many others need to have a long hard look at themselves and realise that their actions have a lasting impact on youngsters.

In this case, we trust that after an investigation appropriate action will be taken against anyone found to be involved in unacceptable behaviour – and the authorities will use the incident to remind everyone involved in youth football why they take part in the first place.

It is a beautiful game so let’s keep it that way.

School lessons

Today’s exam statistics are a mixed school bag, as ever, for Edinburgh.

The Capital consistently has some of the country’s brightest young things, ensuring that on average we outperform the rest of the country at Higher level.

However, this can hide the schools that are not performing so well, especially the scandal of pupils still leaving at the age of 16 with little or no qualifications.

We are encouraged to hear talk of extra support for the poorly performing secondaries and wait to see the action plan in detail. Early intervention is vital to first identify and then nurture children who are not performing well.

And just as those who need extra help are mentored, so should the children at the other end of the spectrum be encouraged and helped to fulfil their potential.

Edinburgh may be better than average, but we can still do better.