CONTROVERSY has hit a football competition for a second time as a group of girls have been told that they can’t take part because they are too young.
The news comes as a 13-year-old girl was banned from the same competition because of her sex.
Half of the players in the Hibs Girls Under-13s squad have been told that they cannot compete in the finals of the Tesco Cup national football tournament despite playing in the matches which got the team there.
Only last week Alyshia Walker was told she could not play for the Fauldhouse Foxes Under-13s because she is a girl.
The Hibs girls qualified for the finals of the cup, which take place in Birmingham this weekend, after playing teams across Scotland in the Scottish Cup.
But because the competition is being held in England, it is governed by English Football Association rules, which say that all players must have been 12 years old last August to compete in the Under-13s group.
And now five members of the squad have been banned from the final because they were only 11 last August.
Annette Russell, mother of 11-year-old Caitlin who was named player of the match during the Scottish Cup Final, said:
“Caitlin is very disappointed, but also very angry.
“They had no idea that they would not be entitled to play under English FA rules.
“We need to have the same rules from the beginning of the Scottish Cup right through to the finals of the UK cup so that all the players can see it right through from start to finish.
“I contacted Tesco who offered to take the girls down and allow them to warm up and get the kit, but that just makes it worse.
“It would make them resentful of the girls who are playing in their place and that’s not fair because it’s not their fault. “
The Hibs team has had to draft in five new players to replace Jamie-Lee Smith, Kirsty Jefferies, Caitlin Russell, Lauren Watters and Caitlin Lynch who have all been deemed too young.
A Tesco spokesman said:
“This needs to be a decision for the English FA. “