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Walking Football Scotland had a very productive meeting at Hampden yesterday with senior representatives from the Scottish Football Association, SPFL Trust and The Scottish Football Partnership.
WFS updated the group on recent progress including Governance issues, Resource Documents, Membership, Media platforms etc
Rules: Scottish FA comfortable with the recent set of competition rules produced by WFS, with both organisations agreeing to continue to share their knowledge and expertise with particular focus on the Health & Safety aspects and the enjoyment of the participants of walking football.
Scottish FA Audit: It was agreed to share information on current walking football activity but with a strong awareness of the new Data Protection legislation that comes into effect on 25 May 2018.
Education & Training: Following a general discussion on match officials etc it was agreed the Scottish FA along with WFS would develop a "Leadership" workshop that would include a range of topics to include: WF history/ethos, organising a WF session/warm up and officiating games. This will be made available to WFS members and delivered on a regional basis.
Funding: The Scottish Football Partnership offered WFS excellent advice on potential funding opportunities.
Health & Well-Being: Scottish FA, SPFL Trust, and WFS will look at options for a joint academic study on the health, well-being and social benefits of Walking Football.
Finland: A group from the Finnish FA will be visiting Scotland in May to study the impact of walking football and Scottish FA and WFS will advise the group.
Communication: A communications protocol was agreed between the groups and regular dialogue and meetings will be ongoing.
As part of International Women's Day, Walking Football Scotland would like to encourage more women to get involved in the walking game.
There are already a few female only sessions at Aberdeen and Montrose however most of the walking football sessions across Scotland welcome both men and women.
It is unfortunate that back in the 60's and 70's women were not particularly encouraged to play football so very few women currently over 50 had the opportunity to play.
Girls and woman’s football is now one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and in the next few years there should be a huge growth in female walking footballers as the younger girls "mature".
Ironically one of the early pioneers of walking football is a woman.
Back in 2012, Vivian Wallace as part of Midlothian Council's Ageing Well team introduced walking football into their programme to persuade older folks to become more active. The rest they say is walking football history!
Vivian is now a Trustee on the Board of Walking Football Scotland and along with Scotland's only football world cup winner Rose Reilly are tremendous ambassadors for women's walking football.