Rescue plan for clubs

SPFL in ‘positive’ talks with asset manager Anderson

Talks: Neil Doncaster (pic: SNS Group)

The SPFL has held ‘positive’ talks with wealthy businessman James Anderson after his offer to pump millions into the Scottish game.

Veteran asset manager Anderson has made the gesture in a bid to help Scotland’s 42 senior clubs survive the Covid-19 crisis.

He is a close associate of Ann Budge and was introduced to the SPFL by the Hearts owner.

The 60-year-old and his wife Morag are among a group of benefactors who have donated nearly £9 million to the Jambos in the last three years.

Budge is trying to get league reconstruction across the line to preserve the Gorgie side’s top-flight status, though Anderson has stressed his offer has been made with no strings attached.

“These commitments are not dependent on league reconstruction. They are not contingent. They are to help in a desperate situation,” he said.

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We had a very constructive and worthwhile discussion with James and we agreed on the need to progress things as swiftly as possible.

“The offer from James is an extremely generous one and we have committed to work together to quickly iron out the details and develop a concrete proposal which could make a significant difference to our 42 clubs.”

James Anderson
James Anderson

A statement from the SPFL added: “SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan and SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster met with James Anderson via video-call this morning and had a positive initial discussion about the proposal from James to provide financial support to the 42 clubs.

“This support is intended to assist all SPFL clubs to deal with the effects of Covid-19 at this time of crisis.”

Anderson managed Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford’s flagship investment trust Scottish Mortgage for two decades and its total assets are now worth £11.3billion. He has been a big supporter of Elon Musk’s Tesla project.

He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in history and spent time in Italy and Canada for postgraduate study.

He achieved an MA in international affairs in 1982 and joined Baillie Gifford the following year. Last month he stepped down as head of long-term global growth to focus on research with the firm.

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