£100,000 SFA grant will help the amateur game

Red Star defender Coll MacCalum keeps a close eye on on young Saints GG midfielder James Beaton during a friendly match at the end of last year.

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The Scottish Government has given money to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) aimed at protecting the game at all levels and helping clubs survive these unprecedented times.

The Scottish Amateur FA and the Scottish FA appreciate their membership clubs have  been negatively impacted by the pandemic, both in terms of finance and the major  restrictions on recreational football, and have agreed the Scottish Amateur FA should benefit from the government funding.

A grant of £100,000 has been allocated by the Scottish FA from the Scottish Government funding and the association’s executive and finance committee has agreed the entire grant will be passed on to member clubs.

The 2020/21 season has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, although the association remains confident football will return during the current 2020/21 season and the 2021 summer season.

Like everyone else, it has no idea when exactly that will be due to the ever-changing situation.

However, it hopes these funding decisions will ensure 2021 will be a better year for amateur football as everyone tries to recover from Covid-19.

The Scottish Amateur FA will advise exactly how the funding will be used for the benefit of member clubs.

The Scottish Amateur FA thank the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government for this funding allocation.

Scottish Amateur FA president Stuart Urquhart said: ‘We all hope the virus situation will improve quickly in the weeks ahead to allow amateur football to return in all parts of the country.’

Oban Saints secretary David Buchanan said: ‘Everyone in the amateur game is delighted with the grant awarded by the Scottish FA.

‘Like us, most of the clubs will have paid their fees for season 20/21 so the money will probably be allocated to the various amateur leagues and used to pay club affiliations, cup fees and player insurance for season 21/22.

‘Players in our Central Scottish and Greater Glasgow league teams can’t wait to get started again when the time is right and we are given government permission to do so.

‘We were lucky that when we were previously in tier two we were able to train and play local friendly fixtures against tier one and tier two teams under strict SFA protocols up until Boxing Day when, like most of the country, we were put into tier four which meant all training and games had to stop.’

Last week the Scottish FA held extensive consultations with representatives of leagues and clubs affected by the temporary suspension announced on Monday January 11.

This has been beneficial in understanding the specific challenges faced by clubs, in particular understanding the key components required to facilitate a return to play when it is safe to do so.

Given that current lockdown measures will remain in place across Scotland until at least the middle of February, the existing temporary suspension will be extended until midnight on Sunday February 14. This affects all amateur leagues and leagues with predominantly part-time clubs, although a number of full-time clubs have been affected.

The Scottish FA will continue to work with those affected to develop league and division-specific plans for a return to training and playing.

A further update will be communicated to the clubs by Wednesday February 10.