The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) Trust has received a donation of over £3m by philanthropist James Anderson to support the country’s football clubs and communities.

As a result of the donation the Trust will be able to provide financial support to SPFL clubs, with every side eligible to apply for a £50,000 grant, provided they evidence community benefit.

Anderson stated: “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.”

Anderson also insisted that further funds will also be made available, through himself or other investors, over the coming years in order to financially support Scottish football following the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last month the SPFL officially cancelled all of its professional football campaigns in Scotland leading to certain sides, particularly in the lower divisions, becoming financially unstable due to a reliance on sponsorships and matchday revenue. However, the grant should provide clubs with short-term support to mitigate some of the damages caused by the global health pandemic. 

In addition, the donation will also be used to accelerate SPFL Trusts’ new Scottish Football United programme which is expected to engage clubs, leagues, governing bodies, and a range of public sector organisations.

SPFL Trust CEO Nicky Reid concluded:  “We extend our heartfelt thanks to James for this unprecedented gesture.

“It will enable clubs to access vital funds during these exceptional times, whilst ensuring they can also continue to support the important community work that has been taking place over recent months.

“James’ donation will also be used to launch one of our biggest ever initiatives, Scottish Football United. We hadn’t expected to be funded for this project until 2022, and so to be able to launch this year is fantastic.”