Kirkintilloch Rob Roy Stewart Maxwell blasts 'disgraceful' decision on Lowland Development League under-21s

Furious Kirkintilloch Rob Roy boss Stewart Maxwell has blasted a decision to refuse pandemic-hit under-21 players an extra year’s football.

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy Under-19s won the Scottish Cup the Scottish Cup two years ago (pic: Neil Anderson)

The Scottish FA has refused permission for the Scottish Lowlands Development Football League to play overage in in their under-20 competition.

The league and clubs wanted dispensation to effectively increase the limit to under-21, giving an extra year to players sidelined by Covid-19 restrictions.

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But the move has been rejected, threatening to throw 483 players across the country on the football scrapheap.

Clubs all over the country have blasted the ruling. The SLDFL has urged bosses to reconsider and many clubs affected have formed a pressure group using the social media hashtag #LetThe483Play.

Rob Roy are among the many clubs impacted. Maxwell says the decision effectively means the break up of the Rob Roy side who lifted the under-19 Scottish Cup two years ago.

It also affects the way he juggles playing time for his senior squad since six of them would still eligible for the Development League.

But Maxwell says he is angry at the decision not just from his own club’s perspective but from that of all clubs.

He said: “This is an absolutely disgraceful decision, there's no logic behind it.

"The pandemic has caused a lot of change in a lot of things so giving these boys a year, a lost year, I don't see what the big issue is.

"It puts so many young boys who have a hard enough time as it is out the game. It's not acceptable - whoever's made that decision should come out and explain why. And then it should be reversed as quickly as it's been made.

"There are young boys who, if they're not playing, could end up suffering from depression and end up hitting drink or drugs. What are we promoting in this country?

"What about mental health and wellbeing and exercise, especially for young men who have been suffering?

But it's not just about Rob Roy - East Kilbride, Clydebank, Benburb, St Cadoc's, they've all been on social media about it.

"And as much as I am interested in Rob Roy's plight, as a collective group I want all young guys to be able to play football, enjoy themselves and be happy.

"It's absolute nonsense. They'll allow fans into stadiums and 32,000 people a day going to the British Open, they'll allow officials coming in from other countries

"They've also been hit with this at the last minute. If they had known back in February they could have tried to plan accordingly.

"It's a disgraceful decision and I can't believe they've done it."

"The agreement was that anyone who had just turned 21 got another year out of it because they've missed a year, which was a great decision which I hailed at the time.

"Then, all of a sudden three weeks before the season start they reverse it. How does that work?"