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Scottish Parliament committee urges more help for Scotland's football clubs



The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has written to the Scottish Government asking what support it is planning to offer the 42 member football clubs of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The committee is also seeking details around the data which underpins the current restrictions on spectators attending matches in person as club finances have been hit hard by the pandemic.

In a letter to Joe FitzPatrick, minister for public health, sport and wellbeing committee convener Lewis Macdonald asked if there were plans to increase the number of fans that can attend matches in Tier 1 areas, and when fans may be allowed in Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas.

“With the end of the furlough scheme, many clubs are having to make decisions regarding staff, including those who play key roles in their respective clubs’ place at the heart of communities such as catering and community development staff,” wrote Macdonald.

“These impacts and the effect of any dissolution of clubs will have a hugely detrimental effect on communities across Scotland,” he continued. “In addition to the sport that brings people together, SPFL clubs play key roles both as employers and in working with vulnerable people within communities.”

Citing the example of Peterhead FC, which recently made 29 staff redundant, the committee demanded answers over whether the government intends to provide specific support to clubs and their wider community work. They have asked for a response by 30 November.

A wider sport inquiry, which will look at the impact on local communities across Scotland as a consequence of Covid-19 restrictions on sports clubs and leisure venues, is due to launch on Monday 16 November.

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