Sporting legend back plans for first Scottish Cruyff Court

Plans to create a world-renowned multi-use community sports facility in Aberdeen have been given the green light today by councillors.

Catherine Street Court is to undergo an extreme make-over as part of regeneration plans to create Scotland’s first Cruyff Court – the brainchild of Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff.

The Cruyff Court is a hi-tech, all-weather astroturf playing area which gives children and young people from regeneration areas opportunities to play and be active in an urban environment and the new venture has been backed by Aberdeen sporting legend Denis Law.

There are almost 200 Cruyff Courts in more than 15 countries around the world which have provided safe play areas for thousands of children and young people and numerous professional footballers have credited their success with having access to Cruyff facilities growing up.

More than £250,000 has been committed by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with The Denis Law Legacy Trust and the Johan Cruyff Foundation for the project which will include planned sports activity for all children and young people.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “This ambitious project is another example of how significant investment in existing facilities as well as developing new infrastructure can transform our communities for the better.

“The Cruyff Court is a global initiative which recognizes the educational, social and inclusive value the old playing fields brought to our communities.

“The initiative serves as a valid reminder that progress and economic development should not overtake the importance of having community facilities for our children to grow up playing football and developing healthy lifestyles.

“The commitment made today will provide access to children and young people from all backgrounds to be active and to enjoy freedom within the city to play in a safe, secure environment.

“I’m sure the new facility will be a wonderful addition to the generous legacy of Mr Cruyff and we look forward to seeing new talent emerging from this community in future.”

The Denis Law Cruyff Court, which has been designed with the help of Communication Design and Architecture students at RGU, will enable access to a wide range of free sessions, including Freestyle Football, Street Hockey and Street Dance.

Graham Thom, chairman of the Denis Law Legacy Trust, said: “We are thrilled to now include the Cruyff Foundation as one of our delivery partners and all funds raised will help support the delivery of our activities including Streetsport and the annual Denis Law Community Football Festival which is hosted by Aberdeen Sports Village throughout July.”

The Denis Law Legacy Trust already delivers several activities across the city, including its flagship Streetsport programme which is based at Robert Gordon University.

Streetsport deploys mobile activity arenas, offering free doorstep sports and other events directly to young people within their own communities, including seven local priority neighbourhoods highlighted by the Scottish Government as being in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland.

Streetsport Development Officer Mark Williams said: “The plans for Aberdeen’s first Denis Law Cruyff Court will help us to build on the previous 10 years of activities and impact across the city.

“Our first fixed location will enable us to expand the delivery of our activities and continue working with our delivery partners in and around Aberdeen. It will promote health and well-being through sport and physical activity and help to further reduce instances of youth crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Cameron Craddock, Co-founder of Streetsport and Communication Design Course Director at Gray's School of Art, said "This is a fantastic opportunity for students at RGU to explore the role of design and social innovation within a local community led initiative".

Ilja van Holsteijn, Manager Cruyff Courts at the Cruyff Foundation, said: "The Denis Law Legacy Trust has engaged a significant number of young people in sport in Aberdeen and has many parallels with our aims and objectives.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Denis and look forward to seeing the first Cruyff Court in Scotland in the Granite City. With the help of the Peoples Postcode Lottery, we are able to make this reality for the young people of Aberdeen."