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Scottish Footballers Transported by Ford Transits
Up-and-coming footballers in Scotland are now being transported to their fixtures in a fleet of six new Ford Transit minibuses. Walter Smith, Scotlandâ€™s national team manager, was at Hampden Park on the eve of his team's historic triumph over France, to accept the keys to the latest 17-seat minibuses to be delivered.
The minibuses are the latest of a number of vehicles purchased recently by the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP). The SFP is the independent funding body set up by the Scottish Executive, Sport Scotland and the Scottish Football Association to improve facilities and help clubs and players develop from grassroots level. Much of its investment, ÂŁ4 million to date, emphasises youth development.
Based in Edinburgh, the organisation has representatives working across six defined regions to develop Scottish football. These development officers are being trained to drive the Transit minibuses to a high level of safety through the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS), which promotes a nationally recognised standard for assessment and training.
The Transits themselves are certified to M1 passenger car safety standard, which ensures that seats, seatbelts and mountings can withstand severe deceleration from 30mph and is twice the legal standard for minibuses.
"The minibuses are a valuable way of getting the young players to fixtures," says the SFPâ€™s Chairman James Clydesdale. "They are driven all over Scotland, often in remote parts of the country, and with the Ford network weâ€™re conscious they can be maintained to a high standard.
"Safety is a major issue but the vehicles are also very comfortable â€“ they feel like cars. The days of sitting in a van with windows are gone. Performance is also an important factor. If youâ€™re travelling from Elgin to Glasgow for a competition, you donâ€™t want to be slowing down on the hills of the M9!"