'Not right' to fund Scottish Football with unspent culture cash, says Nicola Sturgeon

A lack of fans has been cited as one of the main concerns for football clubs struggling to surviveA lack of fans has been cited as one of the main concerns for football clubs struggling to survive
A lack of fans has been cited as one of the main concerns for football clubs struggling to survive
Douglas Ross’ proposals for football clubs in Scotland to be supported by unspent Scottish Government funding earmarked for cultural venues have been rejected by Nicola Sturgeon.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives had proposed a plan this morning to help keep football clubs afloat.

The ‘Fans Fighting Fund’ would have seen around £10 million in unspent funds originally allocated for supporting the arts and culture sector during the Covid-19 pandemic spent on football instead.

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However, the First Minister rejected the plans as “not right” and said discussions were ongoing with the UK Government about dedicated support for football clubs.

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Mr Ross said: “On Friday, I spoke with representatives of 24 clubs across Scotland to hear about the perilous state of the game. Clubs told me that they’re on the brink without paying punters in the stadium.

“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.

“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.”

However, rejecting the suggestion, Ms Sturgeon said such a move would not be “right” or fair to those who could access the funding within the cultural sector.

She said: “It’s important to point out that we are already in the process of allocating that money to arts and culture organisations and the fund in England that generated the consequentials was not for football.

"If we were to use that money we would be taking that away from the organisations that had actually been intended to benefit from that money and I don’t think that is the right thing to do.

"I don’t think it is right to take money that was deliberately earmarked for theatres and artists that can’t make money right now and for cultural venues and divert that, just as we are about to allocate it, into football.”

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