SDS is disappointed to announce that the Scottish FA has taken the decision to withdraw the Scottish Cerebral Palsy Football Squad from the 2017 International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) World Championships which are due to be held in Argentina this September. In addition, all planned training camps have been cancelled with immediate effect.
The decision has been taken by the Scottish FA following a recent change to the IFCPF player eligibility policy which now allows any player possessing a UK passport to represent any of the UK home nations. The Scottish FA also feels very strongly that this position also threatens Scotland’s position as an independent football nation. SDS and the Scottish FA had jointly communicated their concerns relating to this change in policy, and the implications for Scotland, to the IFCPF on numerous occasions but the decision to move to a passport based policy was taken regardless.
Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive said: “It is extremely regrettable that despite our appeals the IFCPF has chosen to enforce this rule change, which we believe would have a detrimental effect on Scotland’s status as an independent football nation.
“We have taken every possible action in an attempt to allow the team to compete but have determined that the new rule leaves us with no option other than to withdraw from all IFCPF competitions, including the World Championships, with immediate effect.”
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the players who were set to represent their country on the world stage later this year. This is a disappointing outcome to what has been a successful journey for the Scotland CP team, of whom the entire country can be proud.”
SDS has always enjoyed an extremely positive and productive working partnership with the Scottish FA built over many years of joint endeavour and whilst we can appreciate their thinking in this instance, we must think of the players and coaches who will ultimately be the ones who suffer in this situation. As a result, SDS is currently working with the coaches and support staff of the Scottish Cerebral Palsy squad to ensure that a programme of training and support is maintained for the players for the foreseeable future. This is a difficult and frustrating situation for the players and staff but SDS will do whatever it can to support, taking into account limited resources.
Scotland has a proud history of involvement in Cerebral Palsy Football and has played a significant role in the growth of the sport. Scotland hosted the first Cerebral Palsy international match in Edinburgh in 1978, the first Regional Championship in Glasgow in 1985, the European Championships in Glasgow in 2010, and competed in the inaugural under-19 World Championships in Nottingham 2015. The Scotland Cerebral Palsy National Team has regularly competed in IFCPF organised competitions and are currently ranked 9th in the world.