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Government talks offer boost to Scottish sport

Motherwell v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Scottish sports clubs have been handed some financial encouragement after the government reported fruitful talks with their UK counterparts.

The return of fans to sports grounds has been further delayed in recent weeks and there is growing concern about the financial consequences among football and rugby clubs in particular.

Sport falls under the Scottish government’s responsibility but extra funding for English sport is set to lead to a knock-on effect for Scotland under the Barnett formula to calculate funding in the devolved administrations.

Scottish sports minister Joe FitzPatrick met UK minister for sport Nigel Huddleston on Thursday to discuss the financial package being developed to support those sporting organisations which are most affected by a delay of the return of spectators.

Joe FitzPatrick has offered a glimmer of hope to sports clubs

Joe FitzPatrick has offered a glimmer of hope to sports clubs (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr FitzPatrick said in a statement: “I had a productive meeting with the UK minister. While the details of the UK Government scheme are still to be worked through, any Barnett consequentials will apply where relevant.

“We both agreed that it’s been an enormously challenging time for the sporting sector and the pandemic has put a real financial strain on many sporting organisations.

“I will shortly write to the governing bodies of Scottish sports to ask them to provide us with further detailed information so that we can start work on developing a suitable scheme for the sector, while we await formal confirmation of any relevant consequentials from the UK Government.”

The UK Government is yet to confirm any of the emergency funding it will make available, but Huddleston has said that assurances of support have been given to football’s National League, the competition directly below the English Football League in the pyramid.

He has stated that the Premier League should provide support to clubs in the EFL.

Scottish football clubs are far more reliant on gate money than their counterparts in the English top flight in particular given the huge disparity in television income.