What does benefactor’s £3m donation mean for Scottish football?

All your questions answered after James Anderson creates fund for Scottish clubs facing financial woes.

Scottish football has been handed a timely boost during the coronavirus crisis thanks to a donation worth more than £3m.

Benefactor James Anderson pledged the sum of £3.125m after coming to an agreement with the SPFL Trust, the league’s charitable arm.

All clubs are now in line for a £50,000 grant if they can prove their efforts to benefit the local community.

Here we run through the key points following the news:

Who is the benefactor?

  • James Anderson is a fund manager and partner at Baillie Gifford;
  • The 60-year-old is co-manager of the FTSE 100 listed £11bn Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and the US-based $40bn Vanguard International Growth Fund;
  • Following his success, Anderson has made significant donations to the arts, charities and academia;
  • The Edinburgh-based philanthropist has also provided financial support to Heart of Midlothian FC over the past six years;
  • Anderson has been assisted in the donation by other benefactors who wished to remain anonymous and has confirmed his donation to make further pledges in the future.

How will the funding be split?

  • The cash value of the donation is £2.5m, however, due to the SPFL Trust’s charitable status, Gift Aid can be claimed on this, increasing it to a total value of £3.125m;
  • Anderson has agreed the donation will be split into two parts;
  • £2.1m will be given to clubs and £1.025m will be awarded to the SPFL Trust – made up of £400,000 from the original donation and £625,000 in Gift Aid;
  • Clubs can apply for their £50k grant from Thursday, June 11, with the SPFL Trust expecting to start payments by Monday, June 21.

How can clubs spend the money?

The only major condition of Anderson’s donation is that clubs may not use their grant to pay staff or player salaries.

The funding is expected to be used to support clubs when football returns. Examples of where the money could go:

  • Costs associated with ensuring stadia can attain bio-secure status for football and the community activity that takes place at grounds to resume
  • Purchasing a Covid-19 testing system that would also be made available for the club’s wider community

What will the SPFL Trust do with their share?

The charity says it will divide its share of the money between two projects:

  1. Building a nationwide campaign called Scottish Football United which aims to bring together clubs, governing bodies and community organisations to help respond to major issues or crisis.
  2. Establishing the Anderson Fund: a ‘restricted fund’ for new projects which display a positive impact on health, attainment, or inclusion as well as any support during the Covid-19 crisis

Are all 42 SPFL clubs due the same share?

  • All 42 clubs can apply for the Covid-19 Crisis Fund Grant worth £50k
  • Any money left over if certain clubs choose not to apply will be redistributed in a second round of funding

What does this mean for league reconstruction proposals?

  • Anderson was introduced to SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster by Ann Budge, the Hearts chairwoman
  • Budge has put forward proposals for league reconstruction following Hearts’ relegation to the Championship
  • Anderson, however, insisted his donation comes without qualification or preconditions regarding the future structure or governance at the SPFL
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