Scottish football 'yet to hear back from Nicola Sturgeon' after plea for support

Neil Doncaster has revealed that Scottish football has yet to get a response from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after a plea for support for professional clubs in the country.

By Mark Atkinson
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 3:29 pm
Neil Doncaster is waiting on a response from the Scottish Government.
Neil Doncaster is waiting on a response from the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and the Scottish Football Association (SFA) contacted the Scottish government earlier this week via the Joint Response Group (JRG) in the wake of English clubs in tiers one and two being permitted to house 4,000 and 2,000 fans respectively at the start of next month.

At present, only teams in the Highlands are able to admit fans into stadia – and that number is capped at 300 people. SPFL chief executive Doncaster is desperate for financial assistance from the government so that all clubs can survive the pandemic, which has locked out supporters since the middle of March.

"No response at all,” said Doncaster, when asked whether Ms Sturgeon’s administration had responded to the JRG’s communication.

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"Clearly, the story has been given a boost this week with the news that in England there will be 4000 fans in some stadia, 2000 fans in many stadia.

"I think we'll see more than 30 EFL [English Football League] grounds next week with 2000 fans in them, and we're simply at 300 fans for Ross County, Inverness, and Elgin City.

"We're all in the UK and we are extremely conscious of the fact that in Scotland, unlike in England where they have a number of other revenues, it really is about fan income."

Doncaster continued on BBC Sportsound: "Sixty per cent of all income coming into the game is generated by fans, that's the highest proportion of anywhere in Europe. So we're totally dependent on fans coming back in, or in the absence of fans, funding from the Government.

"And unlike other countries where they've received direct funding from their Governments, we haven't.

"You've got £300m has been given to English sport from the UK Government, the Northern Irish executive recently provided £25m to Northern Irish Sport, Welsh clubs have received direct government funding, and our clubs have received absolutely nothing.

"Again, we haven't had a response to the letter, which is disappointing. We are keen to engage, we believe football can be not a problem, but actually part of the solution."

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