Scottish Rugby to benefit from government funded 3G pitches

Scottish rugby will profit from five new full-sized 3G pitches following a £1.43m boost from the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities fund, it has been announced today.

Scottish Rugby's Director of Rugby Operations, Colin Thomson, Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, and Scottish Football's Director of Football Development, Jim Fleeting are joined by children from Balerno High School's rugby and football teams and Currie Rugby Club's youth section.

The money, seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be used to implement synthetic turf rugby and football pitches at venues across Scotland.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill made the announcement at Malleny Park, the home of Currie Rugby Club, one of the recipients of the project, this morning.

He said: “Today’s announcement is a perfect example of how criminal money can be seized and used for good to make communities richer places to live.

“These pitches will allow young people to access facilities that keep them out of trouble and encourage them to lead healthy and happy lives. The fact these pitches can be used for both football and rugby all year round means we are encouraging the next generation of sportsmen and women to develop their full potential.

“This government has now redistributed more than £50 million in criminal money to good causes through this unique Scottish programme, with dozens of CashBack-funded sports facilities now in place across Scotland to provide a tangible legacy that communities can use and enjoy for years to come.”

Also benefitting from the project will be Dalziel, Strathaven, Mackie Academy and Dyce rugby clubs, with the synthetic pitches being introduced at Dalziel Park, Whiteshawgate Park, Mineralwell Park and Dyce Academy Playing Fields respectively. 

Director of Rugby Operations for Scottish Rugby, Colin Thomson, said: “We have already seen the benefits of 3G pitches with countless numbers of rugby participants, from schools and clubs taking part in activities at Scotstoun prior to Glasgow Warriors matches and on our own 3G pitch at Murrayfield before Edinburgh Rugby games. These are fantastic surfaces that help develop the skills necessary to enjoy participation in our great sport.

“Today’s announcement is a great example of what rugby and football clubs can achieve when they work together with other partners with the common goal of improving facilities, to increase opportunities for youngsters in sport.”

Priority has been given to bids for pitches with projects working with young people in areas that experience behavioural and crime issues.

This is the first wave of funding allocations from a pot of £3.15 million; the next wave will be announced by the government in the new year. The cash comprises £2 million from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, coupled with £1 million from sportscotland and £150,000 from WREN. 

The CashBack funding has come from a £5.6 million payment from Aberdeen-based oil and gas company Abbot Group after the firm used the Crown Office’s self-reporting initiative to admit benefitting from corrupt payments made in an overseas deal.

Applications for funding were invited from partnerships between local authorities and local football and rugby clubs. Details of the successful applicants and locations can been seen below:

  • Aberdeen City Council at Central Park, Dyce Academy Playing Field, Dyce, Aberdeen (£300,000)
  • Stonehaven Community Group at Mineralwell Park, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire (£280,000)
  • City of Edinburgh Council at Malleny Park, Balerno, Edinburgh (£300,000 including £50,000 WREN funding)
  • Strathaven Rugby Football Club at Whiteshawgate Park, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire (£300,000)
  • Dalziel High School Memorial Trust at Dalziel Park, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire (£250,000 including £50,000 WREN funding)

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “At sportscotland we firmly believe in the power of sport to change lives and transform communities. That is why we have made an additional £1 million of funding available to complement Cashback support for projects such as the five announced today.

sportscotland is committed to investing in quality facilities as part of its drive towards developing a world-class sporting system at all levels.  Increasing and improving the opportunities for people to become involved in sport and physical activity locally is right at the heart of that commitment and it’s fantastic to see more communities across Scotland set to benefit as a result of this funding.”

Cameron Watt, the Scottish Football Association’s Facilities Manager said: "Firstly we wish to thank the Scottish Government for another significant investment in facilities that is sure to have a tremendous impact on the successful applicant clubs and their players.

“We've enjoyed working together with our partners at sportscotland and Scottish Rugby to identify projects that will deliver facilities for both sports.  As a result both football and rugby will enjoy over £3m of investment as opposed to simply splitting the pot in half and delivering for each sport separately.  CashBack for Pitches has been a fine example of partnership between the Scottish FA, Scottish Rugby and Scotland's national agency for sport.”

Notes to editors

For more information about CashBack for Communities visit:

WREN is a not for profit business that awards grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK from funds donated by FCC Environment as part of a voluntary environmental tax credit scheme called the Landfill Communities Fund.

It is able to invest in projects on a single site within 10 miles of any licensed landfill site in the following areas: City of Edinburgh, City of Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, West Lothian.