Denis Law to build Cruyff-inspired sport court in Aberdeen

Scotland's first Cruyff Court is being built with the help of Scottish football legend Denis Law in Aberdeen.

Picture: PA

The new sports court on Catherine Street will get an extreme make-over to give children from deprived areas opportunities to play football and street hockey in an urban environment.

The £250,000 venture has been backed by former Manchester United player Denis Law and will be jointly funded by the Denis Law Legacy Trust, the council and Streetsport.

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Cruyff Courts were launched by Dutch football player Johan Cruyff to provide safe places for children to play sports in city neighbourhoods which had lost green space.

By 2016 more than 200 courts had been built in cities across the world with some of the first ventures becoming playing grounds for future professional players.

Hunter Construction Ltd will build the Denis Law Cruyff Court. The construction firm are specialists in artificial grass sports pitches and will begin working on the astroturf in October.

Denis Law Legacy Trust chairman Graham Thom said he hoped it would be the first of many built across the country.

He said: “We are determined that we don’t want this first Cruyff Court to be a one-off.

“There is the potential for others and if we, in Aberdeen, continue to be at the forefront of these facilities being delivered elsewhere then we are convinced this programme will work wonders for communities in various parts of Aberdeen and beyond.

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“Statistics show a correlation between sport and encouraging young people to become better citizens which, in the end, is what we are trying to achieve.

“Aberdeen City Council has recognised this and once we have the first court up and running, we will look to the future.”

The trust is already involved in other initiatives across the city, including its flagship Streetsport programme which is based at Robert Gordon University.

Youngsters living in poorer neighbourhoods are offered free sports sessions in mobile activity arenas under the scheme.

Mr Thom added that establishing the Cruyff Court offered the trust and the Streetsport project it backs, a further opportunity to bring additional services to communities.

He said: “We will continue to target those areas which need our help and endeavour to attract those who live outwith the city centre to utilise the Cruyff Court to the full.”

Aberdeen City Council’s spokesman for regeneration Councillor Ross Grant said he looked forward to seeing the new facility take shape over the next few months.

He said: “We have reached a new milestone on a project that will offer fantastic new facilities for young people and their families in the city centre and the communities in the surrounding areas.

“The Cruyff Court is a global initiative which recognises the educational, social and inclusive value the old playing fields brought to our communities and serves as a valid reminder that economic development should not overtake the importance of having community facilities for our children to grow up playing sports and being active in a safe environment.”