SPFL chief Neil Doncaster on football's 'existential crisis' and gate receipts concern

Neil Doncaster issues concerns for Scottish football. Picture: SNSNeil Doncaster issues concerns for Scottish football. Picture: SNS
Neil Doncaster issues concerns for Scottish football. Picture: SNS
Doncaster attended a meeting with the Scottish Government on Tuesday

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned Scottish football is in “grave peril” without gate receipts.

Doncaster attended a meeting with minister for sport Joe FitzPatrick and professor Jason Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, on Tuesday. Alongside Scottish FA chief Ian Maxwell as well as representatives from Scottish Rugby Union, sportscotland and Scottish Racing.

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The concerns of the SPFL were laid out straight with financial support required without games being played and fans coming through the turnstiles.

The belief in Scottish football will return in September at the earliest but Hearts, Hibs and Edinburgh City could be playing without supporters for a sustained period after that date.

It was revealed earlier this year through Uefa's Club Licensing Benchmark report that ticket revenue made up a greater percentage of Scottish Premiership clubs’ income than any other European top-flight.

"We gave the minister a frank summary of the existential crisis our game is facing,” Doncaster said after the meeting. “Gate receipts make up a far higher proportion of our income than in England, which benefits from huge TV deals, so until we get back to playing in front of crowds, our game will remain in grave peril.

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"It was encouraging to hear the minister recognise the social and health benefits of football in Scotland, which generates hundreds of millions of pounds for the Scottish economy annually.

"As sport is a devolved responsibility, we'll continue to be guided by the Scottish Government's health experts on when we are able to resume matches, but that looks to be some while away.

"We have already seen the UK Government pledging £16million support to Rugby League in England to prevent it from being devastated by Covid-19.

"The longer we are unable to play matches in Scotland, the more essential will be significant financial support for our hard-pressed national sport."