Mike Rumbles MSP has written to the Scottish Government’s Minister for Sport to raise concerns about the possible loss of an EU cultural exchange programme that benefits Scottish Football’s youngest players.
The Erasmus scheme, which is under threat if the UK leaves the EU, funds and supports budding youth players from all over Scotland as they visit other counties to learn their trade from some of the biggest footballing nations in the world.
Findings from The East of Scotland European Consortium, Chaired by Liberal Democrat Councillor for Monifieth & Sidlaw Ben Lawrie, show that sports, schools, colleges and universities in the region have received £11 million from the programme since 2014, benefiting young players, their communities and Scottish Football as a whole.
Mr Rumbles said: “Erasmus, which is funded by the EU, is a fantastic scheme that broadens horizons for thousands of young people every year, enriching their lives and benefiting Scotland as a whole. I would be very sorry to see it reduced by Brexit and short-sighted Ministers.
“Erasmus’ football cultural exchange gives our young athletes the chance to experience other cultures and learn from the best. That can only be a good thing for Scottish Football and our hopes of international success.”
Cllr Lawrie said: “The research we have carried out shows that millions of pounds has been invested in Scotland’s young players by the EU. We have no guarantee from either the Scottish or UK Governments that investment will continue if the UK leaves the EU.
“It’s not only the individuals that benefit from the programme, but their local community as well. Many players will no doubt raise their game and come back to dominate the sport on the world stage. That is why we are seeking assurances from the Minister that our next generation of footballers will continue to enjoy the same level of support that many young players do now.”
Notes for editors:
- All awards and comments from clubs are available on the East of Scotland European Consortium website, at: http://www.esec.org.uk/east-of-scotlands-11-million-of-grants-from-eu-funding-programme/.