The Scottish Football Partnership Trust (SFPT) has announced plans for the next stage of investment in sports and wireless connectivity in Scotland.
The investment scheme, along with wireless infrastructure operator Shared Access, launched in September 2020 has secured more than 250 new clubs as hosts for mobile and wireless telecommunications infrastructure. In return, participating clubs will receive investment funding that will go to improve club facilities.
The scheme builds upon the investment already made in Scotland by Shared Access over the last eight years. To date, the infrastructure has been developed through the creation of new sites and the strategic acquisition of infrastructure locations, such as the deal with NATS to secure key sites. Now, with more than 250 new clubs and subsequent sites registered to the scheme, the infrastructure opportunity in Scotland is now increased even further with the number of clubs spread across the country. Many locations are situated in rural areas, run in partnership with the local authorities, so the potential for infrastructure investment in these areas has been greatly increased by the scheme.
The Scottish Football Partnership Trust aims to bring more investment to Scottish football clubs through grant funding, allowing clubs to invest in programs that could develop club facilities or improve on existing stadia infrastructure. Clubs have the power to decide where to invest any funding received at the same time as playing a pivotal role in the communications infrastructure development in Scotland. The scheme aims to invest £5m over the next five years and comes at a time when club finances have been severely impacted by Covid-19.
Sam Jackman, chief development officer at Shared Access, said: “Our strategy has always been focused on investing in grassroots sports. This year has highlighted this fact more than any year previously with the world of sport devasted by the continued impact of Covid-19 measures and restrictions. Whilst the scheme primarily aims to invest in Scottish sports clubs, it also broadens the infrastructure options available to MNOs as the development of wireless connectivity gathers pace in Scotland.
Stuart McCaffrey, chief operating officer at the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, added: “We’ve been hugely encouraged by the interest and response to the scheme so far from clubs spread across the length and breadth of Scotland since we launched the registration process two months ago. Our partnership with Shared Access provides a viable funding option for clubs at a time when football across every level faces difficult financial challenges in terms of sustaining, enhancing and improving facilities. It is critical for the long-term health of football and the nation more generally that we find innovative ways to bring investment into grassroots sport. Shared Access has a tried and tested model for helping clubs and we are excited to be part of something that is going to bring real benefits to clubs and communities in Scotland”.