Scottish sports body ‘threatened’ as funding slashed

It is claimed the move would hit efforts to attract youngsters into sport. Photograph: Neil Hanna
It is claimed the move would hit efforts to attract youngsters into sport. Photograph: Neil Hanna
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The future of the organisation that acts for governing bodies of sports in Scotland is under threat as a result of Scottish Government funding cuts, it has claimed.

The Scottish Sports Association (SSA), which represents organisations such as the Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Football Association, has written to its members saying it has been told by ministers that its funding is to be reduced dramatically.

The letter, seen by Scotland on Sunday, claims the Scottish Government is discriminating against sport by withdrawing funding, while opposition politicians said the move would harm efforts to attract youngsters into sport.

The SSA brings together dozens of governing bodies from a whole range of sports. It works with them to promote sport and work with communities to strengthen involvement in physical activity.

The letter says that in 2017/18 the Scottish Government provided £40,000 and a further £30,000 was given by sportscotland, the national sports agency quango.

According to the document sportscotland has “confirmed to the SSA, in writing that it will not invest in the SSA from 31 March, 2018.”

On the issue of direct funding from the government, it said: “The Active Scotland Division of the Scottish Government has informally informed the SSA that it will provide very limited investment into the SSA from 31 March, 2018.”

The letter goes on to warn that without further investment the support offered by SSA to governing bodies will be lost and the connection between sport and voluntary sector would be lost.

“The SSA is aware that similar representative bodies within other sectors/parts of the voluntary sector exist with Scottish Government support as the independent voice of their members. The withdrawal of funding for the SSA in this area is discriminatory against sport – the largest part of the voluntary sector and the largest community of interest in Scotland,” it said.

Labour’s sport spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, pictured, said: “Sport should be supported as a powerful tool in the fight against deep- rooted health inequalities and supporting community networks. This work should be supported, not cut.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government has a strong relationship with the Scottish Sports Association and appreciate the support they provide to Scottish sporting governing bodies.

 “The SSA receive financial support from a number of sources including their membership. We will be setting out the Scottish Government’s budget on 14 December.”