The Scottish Sports Minister, Shona Robison, is calling on the FA south of the border to waive its rules and let a 13-year old girl from West Lothian play in the Tesco Cup UK Home International Final which takes place tomorrow (22nd May) at Birmingham City’s stadium.
Alyshia Walker, who is captain of Fauldhouse Foxes under 13s football team, won’t be allowed to play because the FA’s rules prohibit mixed teams. The rules that govern Scottish football enable mixed gender teams until the age of 13 whilst the threshold in England is 11.
The campaign to let Alyshia play has garnered high profile support such as Rod Stewart, Lorraine Kelly and Jim Leighton and was highlighted on “The One Show” last night.
Commenting Ms Robison said:
“Alyshia’s talent is more than obvious and with such a weight of opinion siding with her the FA could surely waive the rules for what should be a great occasion.
“I hope that they will listen to these last minute appeals and recognise that she has been instrumental in Fauldhouse Foxes’ success and should be allowed to captain her team on the field.”
West Lothian’s’ two women MSPs Angela Constance and Fiona Hyslop have also joined forces to support Alyshia.
Angela Constance, MSP for Almond Valley whose constituency includes Fauldhouse, said:
“Fauldhouse Foxes should be enjoying their success as the winners of the Scottish Cup and their success at securing a place in the UK Home International Final, but instead they are having to battle with the football authorities south of the border to let their Captain play.
“Alyshia is an invaluable team member to the Fauldhouse Foxes and I am glad Shona Robison is asking the FA reconsider their position.”
Fiona Hyslop, MSP for Linlithgow Constituency and Alyshia’s MSP, said:
“Tesco should be congratulated for sponsoring this football competition and for encouraging young people to play football.
“This is the 21st century and we cannot have young talented girls disadvantaged in this way.”
The petition to ‘Let Alyshia Play’ can be read here: