Hearts benefactor James Anderson provides Scottish Women’s football with largest donation in their history

The Edinburgh-based investment manager James Anderson has donated £250,000 to the Scottish Football Partnership Trust to help women’s football in Scotland through the coronavirus pandemic.

The money awarded through the Scottish Football Partnership Trust has been described as the single biggest investment in the women’s game.

When asked what compelled him to make such a generous donation, Anderson said:

“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 were 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.”

Vivienne MacLaren, the chair of Scottish Women’s Football meanwhile said it showed the women’s game had not been forgotten.

MacLaren 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.”

The initial phase of funding will be distributed by the trust to Scottish Women’s Premier League One and Scottish Women’s Premier League Two clubs to sustain non-playing staff and key club infrastructure. Benefits will also filter down to other Scottish Women Federation member clubs, including those at grassroots level.

SWF have already decided how the windfall will be allocated. The eight SWPL1 clubs will receive £112,000 (45 per cent), which equates to just over £14,000 per team.

The ten SWPL2 clubs will get £62,5000 (25 per cent), while SWF are retaining £75,000 (30 per cent) to cover Covid-19 shortfalls. The entire Gift Aid element – £62,500 – will be used to give teams huge discounts on their 2021 affiliations.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added:

“We know the positive power our clubs have within their communities. During this crisis, they have stepped up to support thousands of socially isolated and vulnerable people who desperately needed help.

“On behalf of every one of the SPFL’s 42 clubs, I want to sincerely thank James for his timely and extremely generous financial support at this critical moment.”

Written by Subeer Suri

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