MSPs probe access to sports as locals claim few can afford them

A GROUP of MSPs will launch a major inquiry into the state of sport in Scotland this week in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

A GROUP of MSPs will launch a major inquiry into the state of sport in Scotland this week in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Politicians will tour community sport facilities in major centres across Scotland to examine to role of sport and how local residents access facilities.

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The inquiry is the second attempt to determine how to get young people more active, encourage volunteers and provide access to facilities after Holyrood’s health and sport committee launched its Pathways to Sport investigation in 2008.

Community activists have accused politicians of failing to listen to those “on the ground” as many poorer residents are losing access to local facilities.

The Scottish Government’s “games legacy” pledges to create a more physically active Scotland and committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said its work will focus on sports at “grass roots” level.

Mr McNeil said: “MSPs want to hear from people across Scotland to inform the inquiry and help the committee determine if sporting facilities are both available and accessible.

“London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 are two significant sporting events that will highlight the extraordinary ability of athletes across the world. The Scottish Government has rightly outlined the legacy to our communities that they hope will result from Glasgow 2014.”

Easterhouse activist Richard McShane said young people on the estate could not afford to use sports facilities. While Scotland has produced world No 4 tennis champ Andy Murray, young people in Easterhouse have no place to play tennis, he said.

Mr McShane added: “The Commonwealth Games may as well be on Mars – the kids in Easterhouse have been denied the opportunities to take part.”