SCOTTISH WOMEN’S FOOTBALL ‘WILL REJECT ALCOHOL OR GAMBLING SPONSORS’
Scottish women’s football will never accept sponsorship deals with alcohol or gambling companies, says the organisation’s chair Vivienne MacLaren.
All three main domestic competitions in the senior men’s game in Scotland are sponsored by betting companies.
But MacLaren says Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) has a duty to only associate with “positive” brands.
“Over 80% of our members who play football are in youth teams and are under 18,” MacLaren told BBC Scotland.
“I understand why, in the men’s game and other sports, it fits very well with what they are trying to do.
“But, for us, it is very much family-orientated. Even in our senior teams, there are many players who are under 18.
“We know it is a minority of people with issues around alcohol and gambling, but they are still serious issues.
“We want wee girls playing football to have positive role models and a bit of a cleaner view of life.”
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With Scotland’s national team qualifying for the Women’s World Cup for the first time, SWF have had overtures from companies keen to get involved in the women’s game.
But MacLaren insists the grassroots body will not change their stance.
“It has been a very hard line from us and, yes, we might be missing out on money from these areas,” she said. “But we wouldn’t feel comfortable because our approach is very much about well-being and mental health. I think we can get income from other brands.
“We are looking at it from a lifestyle perspective. What is that combines to give girls a good start and a stable life? It is about diet, about mental health and about sport and exercise.
“It is Women and Girls in Sport Week and we are trying to encourage more people to get into sport. We are looking for positive lifestyle choices.”
Scotland Women ‘can go all the way’
Scotland topped their qualifying group for next summer’s World Cup in France, having reached their first major tournament at last year’s European Championship finals.
MacLaren believes Shelley Kerr’s team “can go all the way”, with the whole squad able to train full-time from January with financial support from the Scottish Government for home-based players.
“This is the most exciting squad we’ve ever had in Scotland,” she added. “I think Shelley is a wonderful manager – and her backroom team.
“I think, with the talent we have got, we can go all the way. I am confident about that.”
Scotland will discover who they will face in France when the draw for the tournament takes place on 8 December.