THERE was good news last week for Ayrshire's non-league sides competing in the South Challenge Cup as the competition's organising committee announced a U-turn on a previous ticketing decision.

Earlier this month we reported how some sides in the region had fumed at the organisers for enforcing a charge on children's tickets, a move which they claimed could threaten the growth of the Scottish game.

As well as clubs from the West of Scotland Football League, the tournament also features teams from the equivalents in the south and east of the country - as well as the Lowland League - meaning the rules around admission are different to those in place for league fixtures.

Many Ayrshire teams have schemes in place to provide free entry for under-16s to league matches in a bid to stimulate interest in the grassroots game.

But clubs taking part in the South Challenge Cup were informed in the run up to fixtures earlier this month that a minimum of £3 must be charged to youngsters attending their matches.

Both Troon FC and Kilwinning Rangers took to social media to blast the decision which they branded as "diktat".

Clubs were informed that they would be disciplined if these rules were not followed with Troon adding that the 10 per cent share of a child’s ticket handed over the the competition organisers was "more important to them than growing the game in Scotland".

However, in a statement at the end of last week, the competition committee announced that this would not be the case going forward into the fourth round of the tournament on Saturday, November 18.

The statement said: "The South Region Challenge Cup (SRCC) competition committee have listened and considered feedback with regards to the decision previously made regarding admission of under 16s to SRCC ties.

"The previous decision to impose the £3 minimum charge was taken in an attempt to gain consistency as some clubs charged under 16s, some allowed in for free, whilst others admitted free as long as they were accompanied by a paying adult.

"The decision was never about any money being due to the competition. The SRCC committee understands and agrees that encouraging under 16s to matches is vital to the development of the game as well as supporting the values of the SRCC competition.

"Therefore, the SRCC committee determination is that ALL under 16s should be admitted free to the remaining ties throughout season 2023/24."

The decision was hailed "great news" by many fans who say that they "love seeing all the young supporters attending matches and enjoying football".