March 21, 2011
New deal boosts beautiful game at grass roots
£1m League Cup sponsorship package to deliver results for young people

Cash seized from criminals is to be invested in securing the rights of the Scottish Football League Cup in a transfer which will give the sport a timely boost at grass roots level.

The £1 million funding from the Proceeds of Crime Act will be used in partnership with Scottish Football League to deliver increased opportunities in sport and physical activity for young people through local clubs. It will also provide greater support to clubs to work with their local community to address alcohol misuse, sectarianism, racism, domestic abuse and violence.

The package, announced by the First Minister in Aberdeen today, is part of the Scottish Government’s wider programme of investment in football, and is in addition to the £40 million previously committed to CashBack for Communities projects since 2007, which have seen over half a million young people involved in hundreds of projects.

The new sponsorship deal comes following the first meeting of the Joint Action Group, which was set up to deliver the eight-point action plan agreed at the recent Old Firm summit.

As a direct result of investment in the ‘Scottish Communities League Cup’, the following activity will kick-off next season:

• An explicit link between SFL Clubs and the activity undertaken in local communities through the Youth Action Plan
• Exploration of the role which SFL Clubs can play in opening up their facilities
• The creation of a direct role for clubs in the Active Schools programme where football is a key activity
• The development of a role for coaches and players to promote football within their local communities
• Establishment of links in local clubs to cashback diversionary activity
• A tour of the Cup around the country with particular emphasis on the targeting of schools
• Campaigns to promote physical activity
• League Cup tickets will be made available to young people and families for all matches

Announcing the deal alongside Former Scotland coach and current Aberdeen manager Craig Brown in the Granite City today, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“The Scottish Football League and our clubs already carry out a lot of valuable work in supporting local communities, while the previous sponsor the Co-operative Insurance has left a lasting legacy that we are keen to build on.

“And our hugely successful Cashback for Communities programme is already delivering an impressive range of diversionary activities to help young people fulfil their potential, using funds recovered from criminals.

"We have invested over £40 million of crooks’ cash over the past four years in improving facilities, and running community projects that simply would not have existed otherwise. During that time more than half a million young people have taken part in CashBack activities – who knows, Scotland’s future football stars could well be unearthed as a result of this significant investment.

“I am very confident that this relationship between the Scottish Government and the SFL will be extremely positive and constructive as we promote and highlight key messages to fans and families throughout Scotland.

“The Scottish Communities League Cup strengthens the commitment made at the recent football summit to support the expansion of existing community and social partnerships, and back clubs, authorities and police in tackling alcohol misuse, sectarianism, racism, domestic abuse and violence.

“Everyone involved in the summit was determined that the positive ideas would be turned into action and here we are, less than a fortnight since the summit was held, announcing a major step forward for Scottish football. However there is much more to be done and all parties involved are committed to delivering the proposals and securing a bright future for our budding footballers.”

Speaking at today’s launch, SFL Chief Executive David Longmuir said:

‘We are delighted by today’s announcement. This new partnership will build on the tremendous community legacy that has been achieved with our previous sponsors, Cooperative Insurance, and takes the new Scottish Communities League Cup forward into an exciting phase.

“The SFL occupies a unique position within the hearts and minds of not only the football supporter but within the wider Scottish Community. The affinity and access to the local club means that football communities and families have a real emotional and practical bond with their team. The club can therefore influence and positively impact social attitudes across a wide range of issues, and across a range of ages and genders.

“The SFL and Scottish football will now work closely with the Scottish Government to make sure we deliver an exciting and engaging programme of activity around the Scottish Communities League Cup, which we hope will inspire the Nation.”

The League Cup was previously sponsored by Co-operative Insurance (CIS), an arrangement which drew to a close yesterday. CIS have been the sponsors since 1999-2000. The cup was sponsored by Bells between 1979-81, Skol from 1984-93, and Coca-Cola from 1994-98.

The Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme uses money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to fund community projects in Scotland. Since it launched in 2007, more than £40 million has been taken from criminals and given to a variety of community projects.