Fife MSP urges government to support lower league football clubs

Thornton Hibs are one of the lower league clubs affected.Thornton Hibs are one of the lower league clubs affected.
Thornton Hibs are one of the lower league clubs affected.
Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Alex Rowley, has urged the Scottish Government to support football clubs in greatest need of financial help, especially those in the lower leagues.

Last week the UK Government announced a package of financial support for football clubs under pressure due to a loss of income from fans not being allowed into grounds to watch games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scotland's Sports Minister Joe Fitzpatrick has met representatives of the SPFL and SFA to discuss the issues.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The government said it is currently working on the detail of the emergency financial package and confirmed a proportion of that would come to Scotland.

In a letter to the Sports Minster Mr Rowley said: “I want to impress on you the need to help the lower league clubs who are in many cases community clubs with a focus on supporting football, health and wellbeing at the local level. The impact of such clubs folding would be very negative for many communities.”

Mr Rowley highlighted that across Fife there are community clubs in the lower leagues of the pyramid system and amateur clubs who rely heavily on fans attending their games stating “with no fans allowed in there is no income to pay the bills”.

The MSP has also written to Fife Council Chief Executive Steve Grimmond requesting that the council put in place rent and lease freezes for the current season, and year ahead, stating this would remove a massive burden from the clubs at a time where they have little or no income.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He told the council boss: “In speaking with many local clubs I have discovered that a big cost for many is either the lease of the park from Fife Council or the cost of using parks operated by Fife Council.

"With little or no income coming in; I am sure you can understand how difficult it is for clubs to meet any costs.

“To take no action may well result in many of these community clubs, with a great history in the local communities, going bust and so the council would be the loser if the teams are not there to lease and hire pitches once we are through the worst of the virus.”