Nicola Sturgeon’s football rescue leaves Premiership clubs dry as rugby gets better


Cash-strapped Scottish top clubs have effectively been excluded from a government funding scheme to help spectator sport survive the coronavirus lockdown.
Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday announced plans to hand over £ 55million in emergency cash to bail out football, rugby, basketball, netball, motorsport, horse racing and hockey on ice – with a total of £ 30million allocated to the domestic match.

But Premiership clubs will only have access to £ 20million in loans that will be fixed at a commercial interest rate, rather than the 12-month interest-free Covid deals that were granted by the UK government in the other side of the border.

The remaining £ 10million will be distributed as grants to the Championship, League 1 and League Two clubs as well as the Highland and Lowland Leagues and the Women’s Match.

But that’s £ 5million less than the £ 15million in grants that will be pledged to Scottish Rugby, with SRU also due to have access to an additional £ 5million in emergency loans.

Sports record understands that Holyrood’s offer should be discussed next week at a meeting of the 42 clubs of the SPFL. They have been eagerly awaiting news of the funding for more than two months since Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick first confirmed that a bailout was underway following the Barnett Formula deal with Westminster.

But the announcement is unlikely to be well understood among the top 12 clubs in the country already facing huge financial losses after being forced to keep their turnstiles padlocked since the pandemic’s first attack in March – and who have to cover the costs twice. weekly testing to comply with government orders.

The Prime Minister said: ‘The devastating impact of the pandemic on spectator sports across the country, especially when many Scottish sports clubs receive a significant portion of their income from spectator participation in events.

“I am able to confirm that we will be building a package of £ 55million in support for various spectator sports. This will include grants and loans.

“It will include £ 30million for Scottish football with support at all levels of the game. It should be noted that top English men’s football has not received such financial support from the government. British.

“I can confirm that Scottish rugby will benefit from £ 20million and will also include funding for basketball, netball, motorsport, horse racing and ice hockey.

“This support package, taken in its entirety, will go well beyond Barnett’s consequences following the investment announced by the UK government last month.”

In November, the government was warned by sportscotland that the sector had lost around £ 100million since March when the coronavirus restrictions were introduced.

And the announcement follows warning from Aberdeen president Dave Cormack that a number of clubs could go bankrupt before the current campaign ends if the fan ban remains in place.


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