Ross wants government to match money raised by football fans

The Scottish Tories said the idea would help clubs struggling financially without supporters.

Ross wants government to match money raised by football fans SNS Group

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross believes a fans fighting fund would provide “immediate help” to struggling football clubs.

Teams are facing an extended period without supporters at matches as authorities try to get to grips with the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Football assistant referee Ross held a discussion with 24 Scottish clubs regarding what he called “the perilous state of the game”.

He has now suggested an initiative, which would see the Scottish Government match the money that fans raise to help their local teams.

Ross said: “Clubs told me that they’re on the brink without paying punters in the stadium.

“I’ve taken away a range of issues from the meeting that I want to look at further but this initial suggestion could provide some immediate help.

“I’m proposing that we help clubs out, especially those smaller clubs embedded in communities, with a fans fighting fund. I’d like to see the government commit to matching what fans raise to keep their clubs alive.”

In July a £97m support package for the arts in Scotland was announced, which meant museums, galleries and theatres could apply for emergency grants and loans.

At the time, the First Minister gave assurance that the funding would be passed on in full to the arts, culture and heritage sector.

Ross said football is part of Scotland’s culture “even more than comedy clubs or theatres”.

He said: “The money from the UK Government is there. The SNP received £97m to protect culture venues from the impact of Covid and haven’t spent at least £10m of it.

“And we all know in Scotland that football is our culture, even more than comedy clubs or theatres.

“As long as clubs commit to paying the living wage and those who can chip in too, this is a fair deal to support football.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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