Government funding is 'massive boost' for Scottish Rugby
Scottish Rugby has welcomed news from the Scottish Government today that it is to receive a £20m funding package to support the sport in light of the impact of Covid-19 and restrictions on hosting spectators at professional and international matches.
The funding is split into a £15m grant to the sport and £5m of low interest loans.
Scottish Rugby’s three core revenue streams of ticketing, sponsorship and broadcast income have been severely impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic with no crowds able to attend Scotland’s recent Autumn Nations Cup matches and Edinburgh matches at BT Murrayfield, with Glasgow Warriors also in the same position at Scotstoun Stadium.
The community game across the country has also been on hold with no adult competitive matches now planned for the 2020/21 season following the recent move to the tiered public health restrictions being put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “This has been a hugely difficult time at every level of our game in Scotland since the public lockdown began in March.
“Our main income sources effectively dried up at an international and professional level which in turn impacted on our ability to provide the revenues we need to invest in the community game going forward.
“We have had to make difficult decisions to look at how we can keep rugby financially afloat as we move into 2021. The funding package today is therefore a massive boost to our sport at a critical time and I’d like to thank the Scottish Government for its generous and timely support which will underwrite rugby in the months and years ahead.”
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay said: “From the outset of the pandemic we have worked closely with Scottish Government to both support and promote its public health messaging on Covid-19 and also to ensure the voice of rugby was heard and its benefits to health and communities represented.
“The impact of no crowds on our revenues has been significant and while we were proud to host the first pilot event at BT Murrayfield back in August the speed of progress to welcome back fans puts on-going pressure on our ability to function as a governing body, supporting all levels of the game.
“Today’s funding package of £20m is therefore fantastic news for everyone connected to rugby in Scotland and enables us to plan and move forward with more confidence. I’d like to thank Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick, the First Minister and colleagues across Government for this financial lifeline and look forward to us continuing to work together.”
Scottish Rugby President Ian Barr said: “Today’s news will be welcomed by every club in Scotland as it provides vital financial support at a time when rugby in local communities cannot be played competitively and everyone is missing the benefits it brings.
“Our clubs have been fantastic through the pandemic and continue to support their local communities at this difficult time. To have the funding package from the Scottish Government announced today means we can move into 2021 with more optimism and confidence that our sport can work through this challenging period.”