New pitch proves a winner!

The first ever purpose-built 9-a-side football pitch in North Lanarkshire has opened in Airdrie, thanks to the hard work of volunteers

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Gartcairn Football Academy worked in partnership with NL Leisure to create the new facility on grounds next to the leisure centre. 

All ground works were completed by Gartcairn Academy and volunteers.

Robert McCallum, Chairman of Gartcairn Football Academy, said: "The SFA player pathway brought in 9s at the beginning of this year for our 2007 age group. Since then we have seen them play on 7s pitches with 7s goals but - with 18 players on the pitch - it wasn't ideal.

"Our age groups will love playing and training on this new park and we are grateful for the support of both North Lanarkshire Council's Local Development Programme and from North Lanarkshire Leisure to ensuring that we have the best facilities possible for our players."

The Scottish FA in conjunction with the Scottish Youth FA are introducing a new format of 9 a-side football as a transition for young players moving from 7 a-side to the 11 a-side game.  Ribbon cutting at new pitch opening in Airdrie

Sandra Howley of North Lanarkshire Leisure, said: "We decided to replace the two seven-a-side pitches with one nine-a-side pitch ahead of the new SFA ruling coming in to place next August. The park is lined to 9s standard and also has proper 9s goals."

Cllr Alan Beveridge, Convener of the Local Area Partnership, added: "I'd like to thank everyone involved with this fantastic project which has resulted in a superb new pitch for young footballers with Gartcairn Football Academy and other community clubs too.

Gartcairn are currently a 'Legacy' Level club within the Scottish FA's 'Quality Mark' accreditation scheme which demonstrates the provision for all within their community to be able to take part in football in Airdrie. 

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