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Five Scottish clubs commission independent review to boost commercial growth

By September 14, 2021No Comments

Five of Scotland’s city clubs have teamed up to commission an independent review of the Scottish league.

Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts and Hibernian have hired finance experts Deloitte to look at ways of unlocking Scottish football’s earning potential with the aim of increasing annual distribution to member clubs from £27million to at least £50m within five years.

The clubs – the five biggest in Scotland outside of Glasgow – have received the backing of the Scottish Professional Football League hierarchy in their venture.

The five clubs, four of whom have American-based chairmen, say the focus of the six-month project is “unlocking significant additional revenues for the benefit of all in professional Scottish club football”.

Five Scottish clubs commission independent review to boost commercial growth PLZ Soccer
Hearts and Hibernian have joined forces (Jeff Holmes/PA)

A joint statement, signed by the clubs’ chairmen, read: “As a group of clubs, who will spend around £600m over the next 10 years (in both operations and infrastructure), we believe a clear vision and strategy with measurable goals is needed if Scottish football is to continue to grow and prosper on and off the pitch, and ultimately compete with similar-sized countries and leagues across Europe.”

The clubs have promised to make the key outcomes and recommendations public.

The strategic review will look at commercial growth, including sponsorship and broadcast deals, the brand, structure and governance, plus initiatives such as government relations, philanthropy, youth academies and player development.

The statement added: “The SPFL is one the most exciting leagues in Europe – it is authentic, intense, and passionate.

Five Scottish clubs commission independent review to boost commercial growth PLZ Soccer
Ann Budge of Hearts was among the five club chairmen to sign the statement (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“Few leagues and clubs have the level of engagement, attendance and support that exists in Scottish football. We should cherish, promote and celebrate it.

“The review will explore how we can work together to strengthen and promote the image and brand of the league and the Scottish game.”

The five clubs added: “This is not about redistribution of existing income sources in favour of so-called ‘bigger clubs’.

“The clubs are seeking to unlock new revenues and grow the Scottish game as a whole where ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’.”

Five Scottish clubs commission independent review to boost commercial growth PLZ Soccer
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster endorsed the move (Jeff Holmes/PA)

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster promised full co-operation with the review.

“The SPFL board has already been in discussion with a number of the clubs involved regarding this independent strategic review,” Doncaster said.

“We wholeheartedly welcome and support any initiative that has the good of the game at its heart.

“We know Deloitte well and the SPFL will play a full, active and positive role in the process and we look forward to seeing what proposals and innovations emerge from it.”

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