Brexit will cost Scottish football over €4 million in lost EU funding according to new figures released today.
The figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe), show that 20 Scottish football organisations have cashed in on the EU’s Vocational Education and Training fund, including eight top flight clubs and the SFA, to the tune of €4,049,829 (£3,411,512) since it launched in 2014.
Glasgow Kelvin-based Partick Thistle FC have benefited from £124,245 in funding since 2014, while £368,950 has supported football clubs across the city; including Celtic, Rangers, Queens Park, and Glasgow Girls Football Clubs.
The fund forms part of the Erasmus+ programme, funding activities and exchange programmes to help develop young footballers in Scotland.
The SFA alone has benefitted from nearly half a million Euros to improve coaching standards in Scotland, while clubs like Aberdeen FC who have developed international stars like Scott McKenna and Lawrence Shankland in recent years have also capitalised on the fund.
Now, SNP MSP and Convener of Holyrood’s Future of Football group, Fulton MacGregor, has warned Scotland’s youth development system could fall further behind similar sized countries in Europe thanks to the loss of vital EU funding.
Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“Brexit will have a negative impact across all of Scottish society and our football clubs are no exception. Thanks to this Tory government, Scottish football will be slapped with a €4 million Brexit Bill.
“This fund has helped has helped coach employability through work at Partick Thistle, funded an apprenticeship programme at Hearts and improved career success for apprentices at Aberdeen.
“But with many clubs already struggling to get by it’s now impossible for grassroots football and our youth development system to bridge this enormous funding gap.
“Without this cash, our young players are in danger of falling behind their European counterparts and our next Andy Robertson or Erin Cuthbert may not get the support they need.
“Brexit is bad for the future of our game. It’s time for Scotland to escape Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain and cement our place as an outward looking European nation.”
Sandra White MSP said:
“These recent figures have highlighted the important European funding which has supported youth development in men and women’s football.
“Partick Thistle FC, in my constituency of Glasgow Kelvin, has benefited from over £124k since 2014, with clubs across the city being supported by £368k.
“These figures demonstrate the wide impact of the EU’s Erasmus Programme, and are replicated across education and youth programmes across Glasgow and the country at large.
“Future Erasmus+ participation must be guaranteed by the UK Government; should that not be possible, then it is right that Scotland finds ways to continue our participation.”