An anonymous benefactor has donated £100,000 to Scottish Women’s Football, a sum that will help 26 Championship clubs through the coronavirus crisis.
The donation, which arrived via the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, will support the 26 teams that form the new regional SWF Championship, the third tier of women’s football in Scotland. Split into two divisions, the league comprises the Championship North, with twelve teams, and Championship South, with 14.
Clubs set to benefit include Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Falkirk, Ayr United and Livingston Women FC, with each club receiving £3,846 after the money has been divided equally.
Any gift aid - £25,000 - from the donation will go to SWF to help marketing of senior cup competitions, improve attendances and increase the visibility of women’s football.
The donation follows one from James Anderson, an Edinburgh philanthropist, to support mainly the senior clubs in the Scottish Women’s Premier League One and Two, the first and second tiers of women’s football in the country.
James Clydesdale, Chair of the Scottish Football Partnership Trust that has supported SWF with grants and sponsorship over the last decade, said: “This is another great boost for women’s football and the new funds will be used to support clubs at Championship level navigate the challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic.
"It is very encouraging that another benefactor is prepared to support SWF at such a time. It shows how the status and progress of the women’s game is recognised and acknowledged as an integral part of football in Scotland.”
The Championship’s two regional leagues of 26 clubs were established earlier this year following a review in 2019, as part of a new performance pyramid structure to reflect the rapid development of women’s football in Scotland.
Clydesdale added: “These clubs had shown great enthusiasm and effort to meet the entry criteria which ranged from qualified coaches to improved venues and medical/physio support for players only to suffer such a setback in their first season. Thanks to this anonymous donation we are able to give them further support.”
Vivienne Maclaren, Chair of SWF, added: “These Championship clubs now find themselves in the position that having invested in their club programmes, they are without football and importantly have very few mechanisms for generating revenues. This donation will help maintain the progress made within the women’s game and we would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the donor.”