Scottish Government seeks clarification on how £300m support package for English sport affects Scotland

English rugby is the big winner from the UK Government's £300m sports funding package. Picture: Bill Murray/SNSEnglish rugby is the big winner from the UK Government's £300m sports funding package. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS
English rugby is the big winner from the UK Government's £300m sports funding package. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS
The Scottish Government is seeking urgent clarification on how a £300 million package for sport in England will transmit to finances available north of the border.

The UK Government has announced a funding package for several sports, which will come mainly in the form of loans.

Scotland will be due extra cash under the Barnett Formula for distributing expenditure, as a result of the extra measures.

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This has been an enormously challenging time for the sport sector and we appreciate the sacrifices made by supporters, clubs and authorities over the past months to help us tackle the virus.

“We welcome the announcement of a UK Government support scheme for sports impacted by the loss of spectators during the pandemic, and will seek urgent clarification on the Barnett consequential funding as a result in order to support the sector in Scotland.

“While many sporting organisations have been able to access wider support packages, particularly, the job retention scheme and non-domestic rates relief, the Scottish Government will continue to work with the sector to ensure their long-term sustainability.

Sport brings enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.”

Speaking earlier in Parliament in response to a question on funding for Scottish football from SNP MP Stephen Flynn, UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “There are Barnett consequentials to this package, as indeed there have been to others. But in terms of how it is spent, that is up to the devolved administrations.”

Eleven sports in England will benefit from the funding with rugby union set to receive the biggest injection of £135m. Of that, £44m will go to the Rugby Football Union, £59m to Premiership Rugby clubs, £9m to clubs in the Championship and £23m to clubs below the second tier.

Horse racing will receive £40m while English non-league football will receive £25m on top of £10m of National Lottery money previously earmarked for the National League. Women’s football in England has been awarded £3m.

The Rugby Football League, the Lawn Tennis Association and England Netball will also benefit along with basketball, ice hockey, motorsport, badminton and greyhound racing.

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The package does not cover league football in England because the UK Government expects the Premier League to provide financial support to English Football League clubs.

English rugby appears to be the big winner and RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney expressed his gratitude on behalf of rugby union for the Government assistance.

A statement read: “The RFU is very reassured that Government recognises the difficult circumstances and unique challenges being faced by the whole of the rugby union family and we are grateful for this much-needed support and consideration in addition to the initial programmes that have been provided.

“We will continue to work with Government on the detailed follow-up discussions to find the appropriate balance between loans and grants for the different areas of the game and the models for review and distribution.

“This recognises the vital role that sport plays in the health of the nation and rugby volunteers and facilities across the whole of the country will play a crucial role in reuniting communities when we are able to do so.”

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