When this pandemic seemed to be cornering women’s football, something magical happened…
James Anderson, a benefactor for Heart of Midlothian F.C. (the oldest football team in Scotland), and a well known businessman in Edinburgh, has shown his generosity by handing over £250,000 to the Scottish Women’s Football association.
Last week, it was announced that Anderson had donated more than £3million to the SPFL Trust which allows each of the 42 member clubs to apply for a £50,000 grant to support the club and the work they do in the communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the donation, made via the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, to the women’s game will ensure it continues to make progress and it could rise to £312,500 following the processing of Gift Aid with 100% going to support SWF and its member clubs.
“Football for girls and women in Scotland continues to make incredible progress across every level and this has really inspired me to support SWF through this partnership approach with The SFP Trust. Football is at the heart of communities across Scotland and the women’s game is a key part of this.”
In the first phase of funding, money will be distributed to SWPL 1 and SWPL 2 clubs as well as SWF to sustain non-playing staff and key club infrastructure. Donations will also filter down to other SWF member clubs, including those at grassroots level.
Vivienne MacLaren, chair of Scottish Women’s Football, said:
“This support will help provide an incredibly powerful message to all girls and women in Scotland that their sport matters and has not been forgotten in the midst of this pandemic. We are very grateful to James Anderson for recognising this. We are delighted that we are able to deliver this funding via the SFP Trust and thank them for their support.”
This is the single biggest investment in SWF and in Scotland’s domestic game, so, it will clearly be a huge support for all women’s clubs through these unprecedented times, and help to maintain the momentum Scottish football has built up in recent years.
“We are thrilled Mr Anderson fully supports our vision for the growth of our game and our conversations were hugely encouraging particularly as he has intimated a desire to develop a longer-term relationship which could be a potential transformation for our clubs and domestic competitions in the future,” Vivienne MacLaren concluded.
And, finally, James Clydesdale, chair of the SFP Trust, added:
“Women’s football faces extra challenges as its league season was stopped in its tracks almost as soon as it was under way and with it, normal sources of revenues. The grant will be used to fund the sustainability of the women’s game to help the return to training and play and bolster the organisational set up.”
It’s great to see that women’s football in Scotland is such an important matter, and that people are willing to help in supporting in its development to a better football league.
However, this is a clear contrast, and a call, to all the clubs, federations, and associations, who have done minimal help to the women’s game during this pandemic. They all should learn from the generosity of Mr. Anderson, and think thoughtfully how they should improve women’s football all around the globe into a profitable, but enjoyable and righteous game for the players and clubs involved.