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Scotland at Euro 2020: Ian Maxwell makes plea for pupils to watch opener

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell has written to education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville in a plea to let school pupils watch Scotland’s first game at Euro 2020.

In a letter to Somerville, who was appointed cabinet secretary for education and skills last month, Maxwell has urged support for the idea to help “harness the power of football to inspire the nation”.

Scotland take on the Czech Republic at Hampden Park, with the game kicking off at 2pm. Many schools have used Scotland’s participation at the tournament as part of educational activities, while some are already planning to hold football-themed activities on the day.

It is Scotland’s first major tournament appearance in 23 years – the last being the 1998 World Cup in France – and Maxwell hopes the Scottish Government can get behind plans to maximise its impact.

He wrote: “Firstly, congratulations on your new role as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville during a Scottish Government debate.

“With Uefa Euro 2020 fast approaching and our men’s A squad returning to a major tournament for the first time in 23 years, we want to use this as an opportunity to inspire the nation through the ‘power of football’.

“As you may know, we launched our new Scottish FA football strategy with the vision: ‘to harness the power of football to inspire the nation, transform lives and build a united and successful game.’

“We know the last year has been challenging for everyone, in particular children, and we hope that with the first game of the tournament on 14 June against the Czech Republic, we can help inspire a nation and hopefully give everyone something to cheer about!

“At 2pm on June 14 we are encouraging schools all over Scotland to watch our opening game in the classroom and help us cheer the nation on to Euro glory. Our plan is very simple, we will push out social media messages asking schools and communities to come together and share images, artwork and activity, culminating in classrooms across the country watching the game.

The Scotland squad during a training session at Rockliffe Park in Darlington., ahead of their Euro 2020 campaign.
The Scotland squad during a training session at Rockliffe Park in Darlington, ahead of their Euro 2020 campaign.

“We would love if you could support our idea to ‘put Scotland on the curriculum’.

“Furthermore you may be aware that schools are using educational material involving players who will be on the pitch. If that collateral was used on the build up to the match it would be a fantastic way to show how sport and education can go hand in hand.”

Some schools have chosen to show the game, with one in Clydebank going viral after pupil Poppy Lord wrote to her head teacher asking they be allowed to watch the game.

It garnered support on social media from Scotland mainstay John McGinn, who hails from Clydebank.

The decision whether to show the match will be left to individual schools, with the potential move getting the backing of Scottish Labour and teaching union EIS.

Scotland are currently preparing for Euro 2020 at their training base at Rockliffe Park, Darlington, which is the home of English Championship side Middlesbrough.

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