Millions of criminals’ cash to fund future football stars

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Millions of pounds confiscated from criminals is to be invested in Scottish football for young people as part of the CashBack for Communities Scheme.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today announced that the Scottish Football Association (SFA) is to receive £2.25 million over the next three years to provide free football activities for children and young people throughout Scotland.

Mr MacAskill unveiled the new funding on a visit to Shawlands Academy, Glasgow, to see young people train as part of the Glasgow All Nations Sports and Recreation (ANSAR) Easter holiday football programme.

The programme is supported by the SFA Equity Project, a unique initiative aimed at increasing the number of people from ethnic minorities participating in the game which has received £467,475 of CashBack funding since 2011

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“The CashBack for Communities programme has been incredibly successful in using money seized from criminals to fund projects in every part of Scotland. Today’s announcement brings the total amount we have invested and committed to encouraging young people into footballing activity through the SFA to more than £7.5m – with £74 million invested or committed through Cashback overall since 2008.

“CashBack has made significant investments in Scottish sport and our commitment to helping grass roots programmes is underlined by today’s announcement. This £2.25million award will help more than 50 clubs and groups continue their excellent work providing free sporting activities for their local community.

“As one of our CashBack partners, the Scottish FA is helping us ensure that the ill-gotten gains of criminals can be put to good use by keeping youngsters out of trouble and hopefully unearthing future star strikers for the Scotland football squad!”

The Scottish FA has undertaken significant investment in equity projects with 1,400 individuals from 43 diverse ethnic groups across Scotland now taking part activities including playing, coaching and volunteering.

The SFA’S Director of Football Development Jim Fleeting added: “The Scottish FA is grateful for the continued support from the Scottish Government via CashBack for Communities funding.

“The grant will enable us to continue our objective to grow the national sport at grassroots level and in particular to make the game accessible to all, regardless of ability, sex, religion or ethnicity.

“I am delighted to be at Shawlands Academy to recognise and endorse the great work undertaken by Glasgow Ansar. This kind of activity highlights the work of our Equity officers and today’s announcement by the Cabinet Secretary will enable us to help clubs such as Glasgow Ansar to access coach education, volunteering and funding support.”

The CashBack for Communities programme takes the ill-gotten gains of crime, recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and invests them into community programmes, facilities and activities largely, but not exclusively, for young people at risk of turning to crime and anti-social behaviour as a way of life.

Since the inception of the Cashback for Communities programme in 2007, over £74 million recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been invested or committed to a wide range of sporting, cultural, educational and mentoring activities for children and young people throughout Scotland. The programme has funded 1.2 million activities and opportunities for young people.