SCOTTISH football will be handed a £30 million lifeline to help make up for lost ticket sales during the pandemic. 

The cash forms part of a £55m emergency funding package for sport announced by SNP ministers. 

Scottish rugby will benefit from £20 million, alongside funding for basketball, netball, motor sport, horse racing and ice hockey. 

Ice rinks that support Scotland’s world-class curling programmes as well as recreational and professional skating will also be included.

The Scottish Government said the funding will comprise grants and low-interest loans, and comes in addition to Sportscotland’s £1.5m Covid Recovery Support Fund.

In partnership with the Scottish Government, the agency also loosened the criteria for its £32m planned annual investment for the sports sector during the pandemic.

SNP sports minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “I am pleased to announce this substantial funding package, which will help to ensure those sports which have been worst affected by the loss of ticket revenue during the pandemic are able to bridge the gap in revenue until spectators are able to return safely to sports events in larger numbers.

“While restrictions on supporters at events have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, there can be no doubt that they have created real hardships for many sports clubs.

"These clubs are at the heart of our communities and, without urgent financial support, the survival of some could be in question.

"I’m delighted that we are able to provide significantly more support than the Barnett consequential funding received from the UK Government Sports Winter Survival package.

“I recognise that for football in particular, governing bodies, clubs and, of course, supporters themselves are desperate to see fans back as soon as possible.

"Sport brings great enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.”

The move includes £20m loan funding for the Scottish Premiership and £10m in grants for all other levels outwith the Premiership – including tiers below the SPFL and women’s football.

Sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris said: “This announcement is very welcome as the funding will help protect the immediate future of many clubs over the coming months.

“We will continue to work with a range of Scottish governing bodies of sport and the Scottish Government to prioritise this funding to ensure the survival of the sports at the heart of our communities.

“With the roll out of the vaccine this week there is real hope that we are beginning to see our way out of this pandemic, and we need to make certain that sport is in a good place and is a prominent part of the overall recovery plan.”