IN Victoria Park, a fundraising campaign is underway to transform a segment of the popular sprawling green space into high-quality netball facility.

The park in the West End has regenerated considerably over the years, with a number of excellent improvements, and is now a space where families come from far and wide to enjoy.

The proposed netball upgrade, which would also have provision for basketball and other activities, would be a real local triumph.

Unfortunately, a few miles along the road, the sport of netball on a larger scale has been plunged into crisis.

The Strathclyde Sirens, Scotland’s only major netball team, have been excluded from the UK-wide super league, and have all but been consigned to extinction.

It slams into reverse progress on what was an up-and-coming sport, and undermines all the hard work which has gone into improving netball at all levels both in Glasgow and across Scotland.

Those in charge have been tight-lipped about the exact circumstances of the Sirens’ expulsion.

There’s a feeling in netball circles that the new, professionalised super league – in itself a positive development for women’s sport in the round – simply didn’t want the Sirens there.

It would be a pain for the exclusive new brands making up the UK league to travel up to Glasgow, especially with most of the teams now concentrated around a far smaller neck of the woods.

But fans have also been asking questions of Netball Scotland, who said an annual sum of around £500,000 would have been required to keep going.

A tall order, yes, but where was the fundraising drive or the appeal to Glasgow’s many wealthy institutions – not least two of the biggest football clubs in the world – for support?

The Welsh team – now called LexisNexis Cardiff Dragons – managed to sneak into Netball 2.0, so why not a Scottish team?

On hearing the news last month, I immediately wrote to Maree Todd, the sports minister, urging her to work with me to find  a solution, but the response thus far has been muted.

Nobody seems to be fighting the netball cause, and as someone put it to me the other week, had this been a male-dominated sport like football, it simply wouldn’t have been allowed to happen.

Constituents tell me that the matches at the Emirates Stadium, which were often televised across the country and featured international netball stars, were growing in popularity.

Parents who wanted to take their children to competitive sport, but didn’t fancy football, praised the positivity, fun and excitement that was always laid on by the Sirens family.

It is such a travesty for these women and girls (though more men were beginning to attend too) that this competitive occasion has been snatched away from them without warning or consultation.

We must find a future for a competitive netball in Scotland, and start plotting a route back into the big time.

Simply accepting the Sirens, or any Scottish team, cannot be part of the gang isn’t good enough.

As the work at Victoria Park shows, there is no shortage of grassroots commitment to the cause.

The campaigners are more than doing their bit.

It’s imperative those at a higher level embody some of that spirit and ensure there’s a future for netball in Scotland at the highest level.

You can support the Victoria Park campaign here.