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Football clubs and other sports to get £55m support

Money will be made available to football, rugby and other spectator sports.

Football clubs and other sports to get £55m support SNS Group

A £55m funding package to help spectator sports, which have been severely impacted by the pandemic, has been announced.

The Scottish Government will provide £30m in loans and grants for football clubs, including those in the Premiership.

A total of £25m has been set aside for other sports, including rugby, basketball and ice hockey.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday: “We know the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on spectator sports across the country, particularly when so many of Scotland’s sporting clubs receive a significant proportion of their income through spectators attending events.

“I’m able to confirm that later this afternoon we will set out a £55m package of support for various spectator sports. This will comprise a combination of grants and loans.

“It will include £30m for Scottish football with support for all levels of the game. It should be noted that top flight English men’s football has not received financial support of this kind from the UK Government.

“I can confirm that Scottish rugby will benefit from £20m and it will also including funding for basketball, netball, motorsport, horseracing and ice hockey.

“That support package taken in its entirety will be well in excess of the Barnett consequentials announced as a result of the investment announced last month by the UK Government.”

The funding package will see £20m made available in loans to Premiership football clubs and £10m in grants to all levels outside of the top flight, including the SPFL lower-leagues and women’s football.

“Today’s announcement recognises the importance of our national sport at all levels of the senior game,” Scottish FA president Rod Petrie said.

“We stand ready to work quickly with sportscotland to ensure that the funding can be accessed by all clubs as efficiently as possible.”

Scottish rugby will receive £15m in grants and £5m in loan funding, while basketball will be given £300,000 in grants, netball £100,000 in grants, motorsport £400,000 in grants, ice hockey £200,000 in grants and horseracing £2m in grants. Ice rinks will receive £2m in grants.

In sport, only stadiums in levels zero and one of the five-tier alert system are allowed to open to a few hundred spectators. Other than the occasional events for limited numbers, stadiums have not been fully open to fans since March.

The closure of stadiums has had a significant financial impact on clubs and calls have been made for a clear timetable for the return of fans.

On Wednesday, Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack – backed by SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster – said the Scottish Government had not provided an explanation as to why football fans were not allowed to return stadiums.

The Pittodrie club, who successfully hosted a test event for 300 fans in September, have seen repeated requests to hold further pilots denied.