Crime cash boost for Scottish rugby

Image caption,
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the move during a visit to Musselburgh Rugby Club

Scottish rugby is to receive millions of pounds seized from criminals, the justice secretary has announced.

A total of £3.65m from the proceeds of crime will be invested in rugby club activities and facilities over the next three years.

The funds will be administered through sportscotland's capital grant scheme.

The move is part of the Scottish government's CashBack for Communities scheme, which funds diversionary activities for young people.

Scottish Rugby will channel £2.4m of the funding towards enhancing playing and coaching opportunities for youngsters across all of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

This will include support for a national network of jointly-funded development staff, who act as a focal point for growing the game at the local level.

The remaining £1.25m will be made available to local rugby clubs with a track record of growing the game at junior, youth and adult levels.

The new fund will offer clubs up to £50,000 to invest in new facilities, or to improve existing ones.

'Grassroots investment'

The move was announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill during a visit to Musselburgh Rugby Club.

He said: "Everybody wants to see our teams and players succeeding at the highest level and that can only happen with investment at grassroots, to support every tier of the game.

"This investment will make sure we are better placed to get more young people involved and give them the chance of becoming the next generation of rugby stars.

"By taking funds from the ill-gotten gains of crime and putting it back into our communities we are making those communities safer."

Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie said: "Sport plays a powerful role in improving the quality of life for young people, including their health and wellbeing, and assists in building stronger and safer communities.

"For a number of years, we have promoted the importance of the grassroots game and the need for supporting the development of club rugby facilities in Scotland."

Last month the Scottish government announced basketball projects would receive £2.65m of funds seized from criminals under proceeds of crime legislation.

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