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Leonard urges aid fund for Scottish football

Scottish Labour leader says game faces “grave danger” unless generous support is made available

THE SNP must announce a Scottish football aid fund “without delay” or risk clubs’ collapse, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has warned today.

With fans set to be kept from stands for many more months, Leonard warned that the Scottish game faces “grave danger” unless generous financial support is made available.

The loss of match-day revenue is proving devastating for lower-league, non-league and semi-professional clubs in particular, with some facing extinction.

Generous grants should be paid from a new Scottish football aid fund, Leonard said, with these clubs prioritised.

In an open letter this week, football figures south of the border warned the Tory government that the lack of a rescue plan has EFL and National League clubs “actively preparing” for financial ruin.

Tory pleas for the Premier League to bail out lower-league clubs aren’t enough, they said, in light of ongoing “swingeing losses” for the top flight.

Under a Scottish aid plan, Leonard suggested, professional clubs could also be eligible for support — particularly for community and outreach projects. 

Warning of a “particularly grave danger” for smaller clubs, Leonard said: “Not only are many of these clubs historically the lifeblood of Scottish football in terms of producing some of the nation’s greatest-ever players, they are also a vital part of the social fabric of our communities. 

“Our football clubs play a leading role in running foodbanks for those in need, promoting the game in deprived communities, as well as countless charity work.

“No-one wants to see football clubs go bust, but that is exactly the danger facing our beautiful game unless a generous system of grants is put in place.”

He added that fans should be placed on club boards to ensure that funding benefits the grassroots game.

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