Coaches suspended from youth football over checks

Hundreds of Scottish youth football coaches and officials have been suspended for failing to complete comprehensive background checks.

David Little, chief executive of the Scottish Youth Football Association, told MSPs that a backlog of vetting through the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme had been completed but that 488 people had been automatically debarred from youth football for not submitting an application to the Disclosure Scotland process.

Those now suspended until they complete the checks would have had access to children only under supervision from PVG-approved officials, Mr Little told members of the Scottish parliament’s health and sport committee. About 15,000 volunteer coaches and officials help to run 39 leagues affiliated to the association and coach 60,000 young players.

The association set a deadline of February 28 to clear a backlog of about 950 applications. Mr Little said that a further 1,170 were being processed after an influx of applications for next season.

The Holyrood session on child protection in sport follows allegations of historical abuse in football. Police Scotland is investigating and the SFA has set up an independent review.