Leader: ‘It’s incredibly unfair on the players’

Have your say

THE HEAVY-handed punishment dished out to Hutchison Vale under-16s over what appears to be a simple admin error appears completely over the top.

If it is the case that a slip of the keyboard has led to a team of schoolboy footballers being kicked out of the cup competition and docked points in the league then some serious questions need to be asked at the Scottish Youth Football Association’s HQ.

We’ve heard stories before of the ridiculous level of red tape with which youth football teams have to comply and it does repeatedly beg the question why?

Yes, there have to be rules, but let’s not lose sight of the most important thing here – nurturing the talent and raw enthusiasm of schoolkids by letting them play and compete. Perhaps the players do need to be registered but surely if an honest mistake is made it can simply be sorted out without any fuss or drama?

Whichever way you look at it – whether their club was technically at fault or not – this is incredibly unfair on the players.

The wider issue is whether imposing such bureaucracy on the volunteers who keep these clubs running is actually going to lead to many of them simply giving up altogether.

Football in Scotland is not in such a great state that we can say the current system is the best way to hone the stars of the future.

Perhaps it is time for a grassroots review to put the fun back into youth football while still instilling the principles of fair play and competition. Let the coaches coach and the kids play.

This is not the Premier League after all, and millions of pounds are not at stake.Instead, the hopes and cup final dreams of a team of kids have been ruined.

Welcome decision

anti-social behaviour involving youths drinking in the street is a problem in many communities across the Lothians.

So, the decision to refuse a licence to a new store in one trouble hotspot will be welcomed not just by the local residents in Piershill but by sympathisers further afield.

It is tough on shopkeeper Mubasher Mansoor who has done nothing wrong and been denied a valuable source of new income.

But licensing boards are there for good reasons – and key among them is listening to the concerns of local communities. No shopkeeper can assume that they have an automatic right to sell alcohol, not when the excesses associated with booze cause so many problems in our society.