Elite League clarify government payment position

EIHL Chairman Tony Smith has hailed the new television partnership with Premier Sports (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

The Elite League have called upon the devolved governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to deliver their own package after receiving clarification of how their government package was to be allocated.

The £4 million the league will receive from Sport England and DCMS as part of a “Winter Survival Package’ is in relation to the five English teams only, with separate funds made available to the devolved administrations under the Barnett formula.

Now chairman Tony Smith has urged the other governments to help out their respective teams and has promised as a body, will do everything they can to ensure the other teams receive their funding.

“We are not losing sight of the fact that we applied for government help as one Elite League across four nations,” he said. 

“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. 

Could pucks drop on a new season?
(PHOTO: William Cherry/Press Eye)

“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.”

Smith also revealed the money will only be available if teams can play and not just to cover running costs while they sit in stasis, which could mean a return to action in the New Year, but no guarantees have been made on this.

“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.”

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