THE Scottish Government has announced a £55 million funding package for spectator sports to help ease the financial burden placed on clubs by the coronavirus pandemic.

Around £100m has been lost by the sector this year, and organisations are feeling the pinch with no fans allowed into arenas - drying up a crucial revenue stream.

Sportscotland, the national agency for sport, last month told ministers that financial assistance from the government was required to prevent job losses and safeguard the long-term future of clubs.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon explained that £30m will be ringfenced for Scottish football, while rugby will receive £20m.

She said: "I can confirm that the Scottish Government will set out a £55 million package of support for various spectator sports.

"This will comprise a combination of grants and loans. It will include £30m for Scottish football, with support for all levels of the game.

"It should be noted that top-flight English men's football has not received financial support of this kind from the UK Government.

"I can confirm that Scottish Rugby will benefit from £20m and it will also include funding for basketball, netball, motorsport, horse racing and ice hockey.

"That support package taken in its entirety will be well in excess of the Barnett consequentials announced as a result of the investment announced last month by the UK Government."

Further details are expected this afternoon but it is believed that Premiership clubs will be able to apply for a loan, while teams in the Championship, League One and League Two will receive grants. The support package also covers teams outwith the SPFL pyramid.

Two thirds of the funding set aside for football (£20m) will be in the form of loans, while one quarter (£5m) of the money that rugby receives will need to be repaid. Ice rinks and horse racing will both be given £2m, with the remaining £1m reserved for other sports.

More to follow.