Leontia McVarnock: “I came to play football and was told no”


Meant to be a winger at Forfar Farmington, Leontia McVarnock is ‘disheartened’ after a mistake in the SFA office. It resulted in the denial of her international clearance request. The 23-year-old submitted her paperwork – alongside staff at Forfar – back in December to ‘be safe’. 

When she came over to Scotland from Northern Ireland in March, manager Kevin McGreskin informed her that she couldn’t play just yet. Now, after some back and forth with the organisation, she has headed back home to continue to play.

Her Football Hub exclusively spoke to McVarnock about her unexpected time over the water.

Going home empty-handed

“So, I was playing back home – our season was still going in the December time. I needed to have my paperwork in on time for the international clearance to go through and to be safe. So, the last three games back home, I missed out on, because I had to be released to complete my paperwork on time to be okay for coming over here. 

“I thought that was it sorted once I’d done all that and the club [Forfar] had done their paperwork too. But once I came over in March, I was told it still wasn’t through despite us putting it in early, back in December,” said McVarnock.”

The SFA held their hands up and admitted the fault after the problem came to light. To try and resolve it, the issue was brought to FIFA. For weeks it went between the two professional football organisations. Just last week, McVarnock was told that her international clearance was denied. There was nothing that FIFA or the SFA could do.

“When he [Kevin McGreskin] first told me that I couldn’t play and that it was a no, I was in shock. I wasn’t expecting that outcome, I really wasn’t. What I was expecting was for them to come back to me tell me ‘Yes, you can play but it’s a matter of when’, you know? I thought it was just a matter of waiting. So, when I did get the news, I was really in shock like I said. 

“I stood looking at him like ‘What? You’re joking, really?’. He told me no and he was being serious. I sat quiet and then had to walk out and go to a room and have a bit of time to myself. I’m gutted and just feel so disheartened,” McVarnock told us.

Going home to keep fit and play, McVarnock now hopes that she can come back to Forfar for the 21/22 season to keep her dream of playing professionally alive. Despite the big blow of having to head home, McVarnock knows her time will come in Scotland.

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