David Stewart MSP

North MSP fights case for Highland League

24 April 2009

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP, has written to Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell over the impact of the minimum wage ruling.

The decision would hit semi-professional footballers in leagues across the country paid for their training sessions and travel time, as well as their games.

Mr Stewart said: “The minimum wage is a vital piece of legislation brought in at Westminster to help fight low levels of pay.

“It is something I supported during my time as an MP, but it is clear that we should be looking at carefully in relation to semi professional footballers.

“I have received some concerns about the cost implications for clubs.

“These could all add up and could force some to change their status to amateur.

“For Highland League Clubs especially, the costs for travelling time will all add up.

“It is routine for Wick Academy to travel to play Cove Rangers or Buckie Thistle to head to Fort William.

“Under these new rules, the squads will be paid from the moment they get on the bus which can amount to round trips of ten hours or more.

“For these players, this is a hobby and something they do for the love of the game, not because of the amount they are paid for it.

“Most players have a job or another source of income, and don’t rely on their earnings from ninety minutes.

“It is an activity which brings a community together and the clubs themselves are also run by volunteer committees.

Mr Stewart added: “In a time when we are urging the nation to be as fit and active as possible in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow the London Olympics, there is a real worry over where the rules will stop

“Will this impact on other sports?

“This may just be the thin end of the wedge.

I have written to the Minister for Work and Pensions.

“Hopefully we can find a resolution to this issue to allow footballer to continue to play and keep clubs in business.”

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Written by davidstewart

April 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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