Million pound windfall for Sheffield Steelers and four other English ice hockey clubs confirmed
The Elite Ice Hockey League this afternoon confirmed that a £4m rescue package for top flight ice hockey will go to English teams, including Sheffield Steelers, but not to clubs in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
On Thursday morning The Star revealed that would likely be the case, and speculated a new, limited EIHL tournament, possibly behind closed doors, could start in the New Year, despite the coronavirus.
The EIHL, referring to the Government's e ‘Winter Survival Package,’ today formally updated fans as to their thinking.
Their statement said: "After further discussions with Sport England and Departure of Culture Media and Sport, 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."
League chairman and Sheffield Steelers' owner Tony Smith explained said “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 and 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.”
The Sheffield businessman added: “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."