SPFL: James Anderson donates more than £3m to help clubs through coronavirus

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
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Edinburgh-based philanthropist James Anderson has donated more than £3m to help support Scottish football clubs and their surrounding communities.

Anderson has also confirmed his intentions, along with others, to provide further funding to clubs in the coming years.

The money will be distributed through the SPFL Trust, with each club able to apply for a fixed grant of £50,000.

Anderson said he is committing his "ongoing support" to Scottish football.

The investor, who has previously made similar donations to the arts world, said: "Football is at the heart of communities across Scotland, and there are not many societal organisations that bring people together nowadays, to catch them in a net when they fall.

"When Covid-19 struck, I realised what a significant loss it would be for towns across the country if their local SPFL club's very survival was threatened.

"This isn't just about the passion on the pitch, which is why we love the game, but about the responsibility our clubs take in communities across Scotland.

"I've seen first-hand over the last few years what a difference clubs can make to people's lives, and so I am very pleased to have been able to offer my support at this difficult time.

"I'm also committing my ongoing support to Scottish football by way of confirming I will make further donations. I have also introduced others who share my values and who are committed to do the same. This is the start of our journey, together."

The initial cash value of the funding is £2.5m with an additional £625,000 coming from gift aid.

A figure of £2.1m will be made available for clubs to access, with the balance of £1.025m going directly to the SPFL Trust.

The donations come without qualifications or preconditions relating to the future structure or governance of the SPFL.

'Clubs have option to say no'

In the region of £400,000 of the donation will be put towards 'Scottish Football United', which the SPFL Trust is launching to help support lower-league clubs and communities in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, The Anderson Fund - comprised of the gift aid sum of £625,000 - will allow the charity to deliver projects that will help improve health, attainment and inclusion.

SPFL Trust CEO Nicky Reid says clubs have the option to reject the £50,000 grant, and if so, that sum will be distributed to the other clubs.

"If the clubs for any reason don't want those funds, it's our responsibility to ensure they are spent appropriately and sensibly," she told BBC Scotland. "With regards to the £50,000 for clubs, that means we will review the money that clubs may not want to spend, and reallocate it across the rest of the 42 clubs in a way that is appropriate to do so.

"James was quite keen to be able to offer the money equally and not get tied up in the internal football politics of things. We're giving the opportunity for clubs to say no."

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