A north-east MP has demanded financial support for Scottish football clubs after UK ministers unveiled a package to support teams in England.
The UK Government’s £28 million scheme to support the lower reaches of the game south of the border consists mainly of loans, meaning it is unclear how much money will be received by the Scottish Government in Barnett Formula consequentials.
Ministers at Westminster expect the English Premier League to foot the bill for support for football league clubs – but this would lead to no financial support for clubs in Scotland.
Around £1.6 billion of funding has been given to the cultural sector by the UK Government, with around £97 million spent in Scotland.
But no support has been forthcoming for football so far – leading to fears historic clubs could be lost.
Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn urged ministers to step in and provide a tailored package for Scottish football.
He said: “The football landscape in Scotland is clearly very different to England and our top-flight just doesn’t have the huge resource that the English Premier League is likely to muster to support teams south of the border.
“For that reason, we need the UK Government to step up to the plate and put in place a firm financial package for clubs in Scotland now – either that or provide the Scottish Government the borrowing powers they require to act.
“I just can’t see how the Tories can justify a near £1.6 billion bailout for the cultural sector yet not a single penny of direct funding has been made available to help Scottish professional football – particularly when we consider the social and community benefit of clubs.
“The Scottish men’s team highlighted once again what a difference football can make and we need the UK Government to realise that for such joy and hope to persist, we need all our professional clubs to still exist beyond this pandemic.”
In response to Mr Flynn in Parliament, sports minister Nigel Huddlestone said: “There are Barnett consequentials to this package. In terms of how it is spent, that is down to the devolved administrations.”