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Women's Football News
More than a dozen well known figures from the worlds of sport, the arts and politics are offering their support to Forest Pitch - an arts and football project which is one of Scotland's main contributions to the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.
The project will see four highly unusual teams, with players from around the world, play two matches in front of a 1,000-strong crowd as a celebration of the Olympic spirit and an exploration of Scottish culture and identity.
Most of the 60 men and women are new Scots - people who have come to the country in search of safety, for love and family reasons, or to work or study. All are united by their desire to celebrate Scottish culture and sport by taking part in an experiential arts event.
Forest Pitch is the creation of Edinburgh-based artist Craig Coulthard who has built a new football ground at the heart of Selkirk woodland owned by the Duke of Buccleuch. The matches take place on 21 July, after which the white lines will be planted with native trees and will evolve into a natural sculpture - which can be enjoyed by visitors and local residents for 60 years to come. The project also involves a film and a book.
The colourful strips the Forest Pitch teams will be wearing, which were designed by schoolchildren in a national competition, were today unveiled at Scotland's Hampden Park football stadium, where a set will was also to the Scottish Football Museum.
Craig Coulthard said: "Forest Pitch highlights the founding spirit of the modern Olympic Games; it is all about amateur athletes joining together in competitions which honour the participation as much as the winning. The matches will be a showcase for sport as a way for people to engage with a culture, and of Scotland as a country which welcomes the world."
Forest Pitch Supporters:
Secretary of State for Scotland, The Rt Hon Michael Moore MP: "I visited the Forest Pitch a couple of weeks ago to meet artist Craig Coulthard and discussed the questions it will raise on national identity, the natural world and the benefits of sporting participation. The Forest Pitch arts project is one of Scotland's main contributions to the Cultural Olympiad and I welcome the hard work which has gone into creating it. I am sure it will cause much interest and debate in the Borders and across the UK and get people excited and enthused ahead of the Olympic Games."
Richard, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry: "I am delighted that Forest Pitch is taking place in the Borders. It is an original and thought provoking concept and it will be intriguing to see how it develops in practice. Art in our beautiful landscape has rich potential and the debate provoked by this work will hopefully stimulate others."
Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad: "I very much admire Craig Coulthard and Forest Pitch - I love the ambition and boldness of the commission and I very much look forward to July 21."
Sorcha Carey, Director of the Edinburgh Art Festival: "Forest Pitch is an extremely ambitious project, which promises to engage us all in a lively debate about identity and belonging."
Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development of Creative Scotland: "We are proud to have invested in Forest Pitch, one of 12 public art commissions across the UK which celebrate the Cultural Olympiad as part of Artists taking the Lead. Forest Pitch is a spectacular addition to the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and a signature event for the London 2012 Festival. This major commission aims to encourage debate about national identity, the natural world, sustainability, the nature of collective memory and the benefits of sporting participation. Craig Coulthard has taken the values of the Olympic spirit and created an environment to celebrate cultural identity and sport, with an artistic site that will remain and be revisited, long after the day has gone."
Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity at Channel 4 and presenter of Radio Scotland's Off the Ball: "Against the backdrop of high drama and controversy in Scottish football it's great that Forest Pitch is putting the game first - playing football in a forest with team that represent Scotland and all its new communities."
Kim Little, Scottish women's football international and member of the British Olympic football team: "By giving equal status to the male and female teams, Forest Pitch is making a really important statement about the development of football in 21st century Scotland, showing that is now as much a game for women as for men. I hope that Forest Pitch encourages even more women and girls to get involved."
Ifeoma Dieke, Scotland international and member of the British Olympic women's football team: "Forest Pitch will be a real showcase for women's football. It shows that there are lots of women out there, from all sorts of backgrounds, with a real passion and talent for the game. Whether they are people who just enjoy the game as a social activity and a way to keep fit, or whether they want to play at the highest level, it's something that should be encouraged and nurtured."
Shannon Lynn, Scotland Women's international goalkeeper, Hibs' Ladies team member and Forest Pitch player: "It's such a really cool idea, football played on a pitch in the middle of a forest. When I heard about it I thought it would be really good to be a part of it, so I'm really looking forward to the experience. I think it's a great idea to bring together people who have chosen to live here so they can celebrate the country through football."
Chris Paterson, highest points and cap scorer for the Scotland rugby team and now a coach with the national team: "There are so many people round Scotland, from so many different backgrounds, who are united in their love for the country and for sport. Forest Pitch really highlights their talent, their enthusiasm and some of the best aspects of our culture."
Tim Visser, the Dutch-born Edinburgh Rugby player who recently scored two tries on his debut for Scotland: "I am very impressed by the ideas behind Forest Pitch and its emphasis on Scotland as a welcoming country with a deep passion for many different sports - a place where people of many backgrounds are brought together by their common enjoyment of sport."
John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council: "The Scottish Refugee Council is delighted to be involved with Forest Pitch. In the year of the Cultural Olympiad, it is a wonderful initiative for raising awareness of refugees and other new Scots. It is also a great opportunity to identify some more talented players who have the potential to follow in the footsteps of Islam Feruz."
David Duke, Chief Executive of Street Soccer Scotland: "We're delighted to be part of the Forest Pitch project and to see people who have come through Street Soccer Scotland's various projects and actually delivering the skills they have learnt is tremendous for them and shows others looking to refocus their lives and take a new direction that there really are opportunities to do so."
John Ritchie, Chairman of Gala Fairydean FC: "This sounds fantastic and a fitting way to celebrate the Olympic year, also a fitting home for Gala Fairydean's pitch. Sport has a way of conquering all languages and religions, once again all the very best to you and your co-organisers.
Richard McBrearty, Curator of the Scottish Football Museum: "Football is remarkable for the way it has changed and developed over hundreds of years to reflect transformations in our society. Forest Pitch is a superb way of highlighting these changes - with women's teams as well as men's - and with players from so many places and backgrounds. It also shows how deeply embedded football is in Scottish culture, with players at every level sharing a common passion for the game."
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