Four sports in Scotland have been awarded their £1 million share of a Scottish Government funding package to help spectator sports through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The funding, which has been distributed by the national agency for sport, sportscotland, will help clubs across Scotland survive the impact of lost ticket revenue caused by the pandemic.
The investment has been made in the form of grants to motorsport (£400k), basketball (£300k), ice hockey (£200k) and netball (£100k), with £930k of the funding already issued. Three grants totalling the remaining £70k are in the process of being released. It is part of a £55million emergency sports funding package from the Scottish Government
Glasgow Rocks, Strathclyde Sirens, Glasgow Tigers, Edinburgh Monarchs, Glasgow Clan, Fife Flyers, Murrayfield Racers and Dundee Stars are the clubs who will benefit. Knockhill and Driftland racing tracks will also receive grants.
Sport Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “I’m pleased to be able to provide this additional funding for spectator sports. It will ensure that motorsport, basketball, ice hockey and netball clubs are protected from the loss in ticket revenue during the pandemic, until spectators can safely return to sports events in larger numbers.
“Restrictions on supporters at events have been vital and necessary in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, however it has been a very challenging time for many sports clubs.
"Without this urgent financial support, the survival of some could be in question and I am delighted that we are able to provide this funding as part of the £55 million emergency sports funding package from the Scottish Government.”
Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “This additional investment is very welcome and will help to protect the long-term futures of these clubs. It has been an incredibly challenging period for Scottish sport but the sporting system has shown real resilience in its response.
“There are still plenty of challenges ahead and we will continue to work with a range of Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and the Scottish Government to ensure the survival of the sports at the heart of our communities.”
Duncan Smillie, Glasgow Rocks owner, said: “All of our income at Glasgow Rocks is self-generated and comes from tickets, merchandise and sponsorship. When it became clear that as a result of the global pandemic there would be no fans attending our games it was clear that we had a huge problem, no income and a programme of players, coaches, physio and travel to deliver. It was a terrifying thought and bottom line was there was no way we could survive.
“Right from the start we engaged with sportscotland, we’ve always had a great relationship with them and from day one they were brilliant and very reassuring.
"The fact of the matter is if we had not received this funding then we would not have been able to survive as a team, it allowed us to both compete on the floor and continue with our community work.
“We will be forever grateful for the financial support we received from the Scottish Government and sportscotland and as Scotland’s only men’s professional basketball team we look forward to making everyone proud in everything we do.”
Managing Director of Knockhill Racing Circuit, Jillian Shedden, said: “Knockhill Racing Circuit is deeply indebted to the Scottish Government and sportscotland for this grant in recognition of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on our business. In particular the loss of all spectator attendance at 46 event days throughout 2020.
“Last year’s lockdown came into effect just seven days before the start of our motor racing season. The majority of our events were cancelled or postponed, any events that did run took place behind closed doors.
“The grant will allow us to safeguard the livelihoods of our employees and allow us to continue to plan ahead for the resumption of motorsport events in Scotland, that fans can hopefully attend in the not too distant future.”
Netball Scotland CEO Claire Nelson said: “The cancellation of the Vitality Netball Superleague 2020 Season brought with it a complete shutdown of all of Strathclyde Sirens’ income streams, from ticketing and sponsorship to camps and workshops.
“As a relatively new and completely commercially funded club whose ability to operate relies wholly on these streams, our survival depended on us being thrown a lifeline.
"And that is just what the funding package did for us. Coming at a critical time, it enabled us to get our team back onto court and into training ahead of the launch of the 2021 VNSL Season.”
Dundee Stars Managing Director, Omar Pacha, said: "Throughout this pandemic we have had some great discussions with sportscotland regarding support for the Stars.
“The club is extremely thankful for this financial support. The help is much needed. It puts the team in a better position for next season and allows us to continue our growth both as a club and for the sport in Dundee.
“We look forward to continuing to work side by side with sportscotland.”
The latest investment is in addition to sportscotland’s £1.5million Scottish Governing Body COVID-19 Recovery Support Fund, which is being delivered with National Lottery funding. Earlier steps taken to support the sporting system by sportscotland have included accelerated annual funding and a relaxation of associated delivery targets.
A total of £32.4million has been accelerated to local and national partners, helping protect up to 1,600 jobs across the sector.
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