Sports body could close after funding is axed

Web curling

The Scottish Sports Association is to lose over half its income.

Paul Cardwell's photo

9th March 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

The Scottish Sports Association (SSA) could close after more than half of its funding was suddenly stopped.

Bosses at the group, which represents and provides vital support to 52 sports governing bodies across the country, admit it is facing an "uncertain future" following a shock decision by Sportscotland to end its financial support of £72,000 from April 2017.

SSA’s most recent annual accounts show it has a total income of £124,969. Sportscotland’s decision will cut this by 57.6%.

Loss of this investment will almost certainly have an impact on the ability of the SSA to continue to support Scottish governing bodies

Lee Cousins, chairperson of the SSA, blasted the decision, saying it will “almost certainly have an impact” on its ability to continue to work in the same way.

He said: "We are proud of our unique, valued and independent role in supporting and representing Scottish governing bodies (SGBs) of sport.

"The SSA board is therefore deeply disappointed by the decision of the Sportscotland board to cease all investment in the SSA from April 2017.

"Loss of this investment will almost certainly have an impact on the ability of the SSA to continue to support SGBs and to inform the strategic development of Scottish sport.

"The SSA board will consult with its members and remain working closely with Sportscotland to identify and explore options to ensure future support for governing bodies."

A Sportscotland spokesperson confirmed to TFN that its board made the decision to stop SSA's funding at the end of last year.

He did not fully reveal the reasoning as to why the decision was made, but instead insisted it had its own direct relationships with sports and their individual governing bodies.

The spokesperson said: “Sportscotland’s board took the decision in December to continue investing in Scottish Sports Association during financial year 2016/17 at the same level it is currently receiving, which is £72,000, and we have also informed SSA that it is unlikely that we will continue our investment in 2017/18.

“SSA has the opportunity to make further representation to our board on this matter and appeal, and we will also work with them to help them achieve sustainability and to examine different business models.

“Sportscotland provide a significant amount of time, expertise, and money to help Scottish governing bodies of sport deliver on their objectives and we enjoy excellent, direct relationships with the sports.”

SSA brings together Scottish governing bodies of sport to give them a collective voice and an opportunity to reach a wide range of organisations such as national and local government to ensure that sports policies, and those that impact on sport, work in harmony so as to be most effective in practice.

Its members range from larger organisations such as the Scottish Football Association to smaller charities such as Ramblers Scotland.

Jess Dolan, director of Scotland at the walking charity, said the work of SSA was vital to it.

"The Scottish Sports Association plays a vital role in supporting sports governing bodies - sharing information, and providing networking and training opportunities," she said.

"Members range from very small bodies with no paid staff to larger organisations, so particularly helpful for supporting smaller organisations and helping them be part of the network. 

"SSA makes a very positive case for all sports to government, parliament and other bodies, and ensures members' views are represented. In particular on outdoor recreation, SSA has been extremely useful in bringing together outdoor pursuits bodies to campaign on joint initiatives and learn from each other."