United Kingdom

Scottish government will let school pupils have time off in class to watch Scotland match on Monday 

Scottish children will be allowed to watch their country play in their first major tournament match in 23 years on Monday - as long as their schools give the go ahead.

The Scottish Football Association had asked the Government to allow youngsters to watch the nation's opening Euro 2020 match in classrooms so they are 'inspired'.

Steve Clarke's side face Czech Republic on Monday but kick off at 2pm, meaning youngsters would otherwise miss it.

As a result SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell had called on schools to let children watch the Group D game, according to the Times.

Scotland's opening match of Euro 2020 kicks off on Monday at 2pm against Czech Republic

But a spokesman for the Scottish Government said it was up to schools to decide.

He said: 'This is a matter for schools, but Shirley-Anne Somerville (Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills) knows that children and young people will be willing Scotland to win their first match on Monday.'

Mr Maxwell had said: 'With Uefa Euro 2020 fast approaching and our men's A squad returning to a major tournament for the first time in 23 years, we want to use this as an opportunity to inspire the nation through our new strategy the 'Power of Football'.

'We know the last year has been challenging for everyone, in particular children, and we hope that with the first game against the Czech Republic we can help inspire a nation. At 2pm on June 14 we are encouraging schools all over Scotland to watch our opening game in the classroom and help us cheer the nation on.'

Scottish Labour’s education secretary, Michael Marra, said: 'It’s a significant cultural moment to bind the nation together and young people need to have the chance to be part of it.' 

Schoolchildren will be allowed to watch if schools say it is OK

Scotland's remaining Group D games against England on Friday and Croatia on June 22 both kick off at 8pm.

Their last opening match in a major tournament ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Brazil in the 1998 World Cup in France. 

It comes as it was announced this week Scotland will now join England in a show of solidarity by taking the knee at Wembley after reversing their original decision.

Manager Steve Clarke and captain Andy Robertson said on Thursday that they would continue to take a stand against racism - as they have done since March - rather than kneeling before matches, a symbol they believe has become 'diluted'.

Scotland's stance on not taking the knee will remain the same for their two other Euro 2020 group matches at Hampden Park, but Robertson has revealed that the recent booing of England's players before matches has caused a rethink among their squad.

The Liverpool full back said: 'Our position was – and remains – that the focus must be on meaningful change to fight discrimination in football and wider society.

Scottish Labour’s education secretary Michael Marra called the match a 'significant cultural moment'

'In Scotland, the football family has stood against racism all season. It was our collective view that the national team would do the same.

'Our stance is that everyone, players, fans, teams, clubs, federations, governing bodies and governments must do more. Meaningful action is needed if meaningful change is to occur.

'But it is also clear, given the events around the England national team, taking the knee in this tournament matters as a symbol of solidarity.

'For this reason, we have collectively decided to again take the knee as a team for the fixture against England at Wembley Stadium.'

Football news:

In Holland, they believe that racism is everywhere in Russia. I'm explaining: this is no longer the case. The only Russian in the championship of the Netherlands
Manchester United offered 30 million euros for Coulibaly. Napoli refused
Inter was offered to rent Jovic
Barcelona appealed to Juve about the exchange of Griezmann for Dybala (L'Equipe)
The FA has started checking because of the riots at the Euro final: The main thing is that such shameful scenes will never happen again
Justin Kluivert will move to Nice from Roma. The Romans will give him on loan with the right to buy out
Griezmann can put pressure on Barcelona so that his exchange to Atletico for Saul still takes place