Scottish Walking football festival breaks world records

On Saturday 24th June, 76 football teams came together to take part in the biggest one-day walking football festival in the world.
Football as a agent of change. (Image- Walking Football Scotland)
Football as a agent of change. (Image- Walking Football Scotland)

The largest one-day Scottish walking football festival has been held on Glasgow Green with nearly 800 players taking part.

Saturday's event also saw teams competing for the Walking Football Scottish Cup, with 76 teams travelling from across the country to take part.

Scottish Walking football is the fastest growing sport in the UK targeting men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 40.

The sport is designed to encourage players to keep active when they may no longer be able to play the traditional game.

John McNiven, who plays for Stenhousemuir, said: "For the first two years I was stuck in the house after I retired and I was depressed.

"But now you're mixing with everybody else and you're getting out for a day out like this.

John McNiven, who plays for Stenhousemuir, says walking football has benefited his mental and physical health (Image- STV)

"It's been really good for my mental and physical health – I've lost about two stone since I took up walking football.

Just get a wee bit more off and I might be playing for Scotland!"

Brian Lynn, a player for the Falkirk Foundation team, said taking up the sport had given him "a new walk of life".

"I started by mistake – I thought I was coming down to play 11-a-side," he told STV News.

"It was such good fun, such friendly spirits and I like what it stands for – it gets people out.

"I had two stents fitted seven years ago and all you did at that point was get a wee bit fitter and play five-a-side.

"I would encourage anybody who doesn't play this game, when they've stopped playing normal football, if you try it once, I think you'll come every week."

Anne Smith, who plays for Jeanfield Swifts, started playing walking football ten years ago with a men's team and has seen the sport make huge advances in the last decade.

She said: "We've got about 30 women that come and train every week and they absolutely love it.

"I used to play as a kid but I was of an age where it was a generation where you weren't really able to play football, so when walking football came along I was like 'wow I can play the game I love'.

Brian Lynn, who was playing for the Falkirk Foundation, says it has given him a "new walk of life" (Image- STV)

"It's quite emotional actually when you've been in from the start to see where the game has gone, it's just amazing."

Matt Ramsay, of Walking Football Scotland, said: "This has been the biggest event we have organised and there has been a huge buzz about the place.

"Scottish Walking Football changes lives and this is even evident today as we witness teams from all over the country wanting to be part of this amazing spectacle."

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