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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 February, 2004, 15:46 GMT
MSPs debate football 'crisis'
Livingston celebrate a win at Easter Road
Livingston became the latest club to be placed into administration
The financial problems facing Scottish football are to be discussed by MSPs in a debate sponsored by the Nationalists.

Last week Livingston became the third Scottish Premier League club to be placed in administration, joining Motherwell and Dundee.

The Scottish National Party's Kenny MacAskill said Holyrood had to look at what it could do to help the sport.

The Lothians MSP will propose wholesale reforms during the debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

First Minister Jack McConnell has said that the Scottish Executive would not directly bail out Scottish clubs experiencing financial difficulties.

Joined-up thinking

Mr MacAskill agreed that public money should not be used to help out clubs.

However, he said MSPs could examine the strategic direction and structure of the sport.

"Football is currently governed by a structure more suited to the 19th century than the 21st.

"There are too many governing bodies and too little joined-up thinking. That needs to change," he said.

Kenny MacAskill
It is time our national parliament looked at what it can do to help
Kenny MacAskill MSP
He said government investment in youth development could be linked to internal reform.

"By focusing on reform that will deliver resources to the game's grassroots, we can work with the sport to establish a solid foundation for the future," he said.

"It is this approach that has seen other countries of Scotland's size prosper in world football. It's time we took a leaf out of their book."

Mr MacAskill argued that the national game was in "crisis".

"It is time our national parliament looked at what it can do to help," he said.

"The game has a special place in Scotland's history and culture. It needs to be fostered and nursed back to health.

"The fans, the players and the clubs themselves can best do that, but our parliament can play a role by focusing the debate on solutions that will benefit the whole game."

Bank pledges SPL support
05 Feb 04  |  Livingston
Livi in administration
03 Feb 04  |  Livingston
Motherwell plans still on course
27 Jan 04  |  Motherwell
Dundee face point deduction
22 Jan 04  |  Scot Prem

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