SFA find Scottish clubs route for loans ahead of financially difficult season

By John McGinley

June 16, 2020

The Scottish FA have written a letter to Celtic and the other senior clubs throughout the SPFL to announce they have secured a deal with merchant bank Close Brothers to provide pandemic-related loans to teams in need, The Daily Mail reports.

Clubs had pleaded with the governing body to find a solution having been denied loan funding by their own bankers.

Now, the SFA are willing to underwrite a percentage of loans, hire purchase or leasing agreements secured through Close Brothers, who have assets worth £13billion.

There is also the opportunity of applying to use a government-backed loan scheme, via Close Brothers, that provides funding of up to £5m for clubs with a turnover of less than £45m.

SFA president Rod Petrie said in his letter to clubs, as quoted by The Daily Mail: “I am pleased that I was able to bring a proposal to the Board of the Scottish FA which I can now share with you as a proposal.

“The Scottish FA has agreed in principle a partnership with Close Brothers, a modern merchant bank which is prepared to receive applications for COVID-19 related funding from clubs. The Scottish FA will pass enquiries from clubs on to Close Brothers.

“There is no commission for introductions or any other financial incentive for the Scottish FA.

“I hope you welcome this initiative by the Scottish FA to introduce Close Brothers, a respected lender which is prepared to engage with clubs at this challenging time for us all.”

While Celtic have already taken steps to mitigate losses that will occur as a result of the ongoing crisis, with no indication we need further outside funding, this initiative is great news for clubs up and down the divisions who were struggling to deal with lenders.

Clubs as big as Hibernian have this week been reported to be considering serious cutbacks (Edinburgh Evening News) and we’re not even close to the new season beginning.

Hampden stadium / (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

With matches due to resume behind closed doors initially, this lifeline could be a crucial agreement.

It potentially ensures that the Hoops have a full complement of teams to play against over the coming season and beyond.

The SFA have done well to show initiative and open up the relationship.