Professional sports including football, rugby and horse racing are to share in £2.55 million of Scottish Government support to help them deal with the financial impact of Covid restrictions.
Sports minister Maree Todd said that some clubs have suffered “real hardships” as measures imposed to curb the spread of the Omicron variant limited the number of people who can attend outdoor events to a maximum of 500.
The funding will support up to 75% of losses after the limit was introduced on outdoor crowds and will also support clubs affected by the impact of the limit of 200 seated spectators at indoor sports.
The restrictions, in place since Boxing Day, will be lifted from Monday January 17, which will allow sports fans to return to football grounds and attend Six Nations rugby matches in Edinburgh.
Ice hockey and basketball will also share in the £2.55 million in financial support from the Scottish Government.
Maree Todd said: “These sports clubs are at the heart of their communities, but many of them have suffered real hardships as the necessary Covid-19 lockdown restrictions meant attendances were heavily restricted.
“This funding will help to ensure clubs are able to bridge the gap in revenue, as spectators return safely to sports events in larger numbers when these restrictions are eased next week.
“This Government has pledged to provide funding to support organisations affected by the necessary measures to keep us all safe and these allocations show we are doing this.
“We will continue to work in partnership to support all our sports clubs to help them through this difficult time and to ensure this funding can be accessed by all clubs as efficiently as possible.”
The traditional Boxing day Premier League football fixtures and horse racing at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day were among the events affected by the restrictions.
Football will receive £1.79million in support, ice hockey £350,000 and horse racing £265,000 while £125,000 will go to rugby and £20,000 to basketball.
The funding comes from the £5 million announced for professional sport on January 5, as part of £375 million in wider business support.
More funding from the £5 million may be allocated in the event that further restrictions have significant financial impacts.
Ice hockey and basketball clubs affected will receive their funding directly from sportscotland while, for the other sports, the funding will be provided to governing bodies who will then distribute it to members.
The amounts for each football club will be finalised by the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League after this weekend’s fixtures, as they are included in the period of restrictions.