MSP Rod Campbell has goal of summer season for football

THE Scottish Football Association (SFA) is facing pressure from Holyrood to switch to summer football, with claims that it will bring health benefits for fans and players alike.

Backbench Nationalist MSP Rod Campbell is calling on the Scottish Government to lobby football’s governing body for a change.

The SFA has set up a study to look into the possibility of a switch.

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It follows a similar move in the women’s game, which saw weather-related postponements wiped out in the first season and administrators say they will never go back to winter football.

Mr Campbell said: “A summer football season would be good news for players and good news for supporters.

“Avoiding the worst of Scotland’s winter weather should see more people take up the game and gain from the many health benefits of
regular exercise.

“At the top level of the game, it could also help supporters who may be elderly or have medical conditions not to have to brave the stands on Scotland’s coldest days.

“I am glad that the SFA is looking at this.”

Health minister Shona Robison told Mr Campbell in a parliamentary answer that the Scottish Government has “regular discussions” with the SFA on a wide range of issues, and said she was aware of the feasibility study.

The Women’s Premier League in Scotland ditched winter football two years ago and now play between March and November, with a six-week break at the height of summer.

“All our clubs are quite settled with it,” said Maureen McGonigle executive administrator of Scottish Women’s Football.

“Initially there were drawbacks with things like a lack of parks, but working with the SFA and their regional managers we’ve tried to resolve that.

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“But from the point of view that you’ve got December to January when you don’t have to bring the girls out training or playing in what is traditionally the worst of our weather, that’s been ­beneficial.”