The Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) has called on the Scottish Government to offer a financial survival package to the country’s three top level clubs, two of which are based in Courier country.
The UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) last week announced a £300 million cash injection to safeguard the short-term future of spectator sports in England through the winter period.
Part of the package is earmarked for English EIHL clubs.
However, with responsibility for sport devolved to the Scottish Parliament, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers and Glasgow Clan are not, as yet, guaranteed any support payments.
With EIHL teams also based in Cardiff and Belfast, league chairman Tony Smith insisted his organisation’s initial application to the DCMS for funding was made on a cross-border basis, despite the devolved nature of sports funding.
With cash for English clubs now effectively secured, he intends to lobby the respective administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to mirror the UK Government’s support.
In a statement the EIHL said: “After further discussions with Sport England and DCMS, we have been advised that the funding allocated last week relates to teams in England only, with separate funds made available to the devolved authorities under the Barnett formula.”
Tony Smith added: “We are not losing sight of the fact that we applied for government help as one Elite League across four nations.
“While the funding that covers England is extremely welcome, our next steps are to try to secure similar possibilities for the remaining five teams: Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers & Glasgow Clan.
“Until we know more, there is no guarantee that these nations will allocate funding for ice hockey.
“We are calling on the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to assess the options available to all teams in their regions as soon as possible.
“The EIHL will do everything it can to assist these teams in requesting funding from their devolved administrations, and take the lead in the process where required.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that emergency funding for English ice hockey clubs will only be handed over if games are being played.
The EIHL had opted in September to suspend the 2020/21 season.
Smith continued: “What we do also know now is that the funding is only available to us if we put an Elite League level product on the ice and that it is not a ‘blank cheque’.
“Everything in England will need to be applied for via Sport England to ensure funds requested are appropriate and proportionate to putting a product on the ice.
“There are a lot of different aspects that we will continue to look at over the next few days and weeks.
“When we have a clearer picture of how things stand across all parts of the UK we will keep our fans updated.
“We’re still some way from being able to guarantee something might happen in early 2021, and again I’d ask for everyone’s patience while we continue to find out more information.”