State aid

sportscotland Sport and Multifunctional Recreational Infrastructures Scheme 2017 – 2020

Scheme Reference number: SA.49027

Legal basis

This scheme operates under Commission Regulation (EC) No 651/2014 of 17th June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the common market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (General Block Exemption Regulation) as published in the Official Journal of the European Union (26th June 2014 - L 187/1).

The Scottish Sports Council trading as “sportscotland” is an organisation incorporated by Royal Charter, and the national agency for sport in Scotland.  In order to further sportscotland’s objectives, sportscotland has the power to make grants or loans on such terms as sportscotland shall deem fit. The statutory authority for payment of grant-in-aid is Section 3 of the Physical training and Recreation Act 1937. Accordingly, sportscotland may provide funding to assist with the provision of Sport and Multifunctional Recreational Infrastructures in accordance with Article 55 of the General Block Exemption Regulation.

sportscotland is an organisation responsible for distributing Scotland’s share of the National Lottery monies devoted to sport.  It was appointed as a distributor under the National Lottery etc Act 1993 (as amended by the National Lottery Acts 1998 and 2006).

Objective

The Scheme covers discretionary funding awarded to sports clubs, hubs and other sporting enterprises to assist in the areas of the development, refurbishment, expansion and ongoing operation of sport and multifunctional recreational facilities.

Aid can be awarded to organisations of all sizes.

The principal objective of The Scheme is to encourage investment in the development of sporting facilities, improve accessibility to those facilities and help create a world class sporting system for everyone in Scotland

General provisions

There is no automatic entitlement to support from sportscotland. An offer of award of grant funding may be made to an applicant, based on the merits of the proposed project, and an assessment of need for assistance. Any award of funding is subject to rigorous due diligence appraisal and internal approval by sportscotland.

Applicants must submit an application form to sportscotland for assessment and decision on the level of award before work on the project has started, and the application and offer of award terms and conditions must be approved in writing before the work can commence on the project. sportscotland is required to provide annual returns to the Scottish and UK Governments and European Commission detailing aid provided under this Scheme, and to maintain detailed records regarding individual aid provided under the Scheme. Such records must contain all information necessary to establish that the conditions laid down in the Regulation are fulfilled, including information on the incentive effect of the aid and information making it possible to establish the precise amount of eligible costs for the purpose of applying the Regulation. Records must be maintained for 10 years from the date on which the last aid was granted under the Scheme. The information which must be provided to sportscotland and/or retained by the aid recipient will be set out in any offer of award made under the Scheme.

Transparency of aid 

Only aid which can be precisely calculated at the point at which it is awarded will be provided under the Scheme. Subject to the detailed provisions of the Regulation, such aid may include grants.

Definitions

For the purpose of the Scheme

  • Any reference to an Article shall mean an Article of the Regulation
  • The definitions set out in Article 2 of the Regulation shall apply to the descriptions of the types of aid outlined below.

Specific rules relating to aid for sport and multifunctional recreational infrastructures

Aid for sport and multifunctional infrastructures may be provided in line with the conditions set out in Article 55. In particular:

  • Sports infrastructure not used exclusively by a single professional sport user. Use of the infrastructure by other professional or non-professional sports users shall annually account for at least 20% of time capacity. Where the infrastructure is used by several users at the same time, corresponding fractions of time capacity usage shall be calculated.
  • Multifunctional recreational infrastructures shall have facilities with a multi-functional character, offering in particular cultural and recreational services.
  • Access to the sport or multifunctional recreational infrastructures must be open to several users and granted on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis. Any undertaking that has funded at least 30% of the investment costs of the infrastructure may be granted preferential access to the facility under more favourable conditions. These conditions must be made publicly available.
  • Where the sport infrastructure is used by a professional sports club, the pricing conditions for its use will be made publicly available.
  • Any concession or entrustment to a third-party to construct, upgrade and/or operate the sport or multi-functional recreational infrastructure will be assigned on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory basis and in line with EU procurement rules.

Eligible costs

  • The aid may take the form of investment aid and/or operating aid.
  • Eligible costs for investment aid are the investment costs in tangible and intangible assets.
  • Eligible costs for operating aid for sport infrastructure are the operating costs of the provision of services by the infrastructure. These include, but are not limited to: personnel costs, materials, contracted services, communications, energy, maintenance, rent, administration. Depreciation charges and the costs of financing are excluded if they have been covered by investment aid.

Aid amounts

  • For investment aid the amount will not exceed the difference between the eligible costs and the operating profit of the investment. The operating profit shall be deducted from the eligible costs ex ante on the basis of reasonable projections, or through a claw-back mechanism.
  • For operating aid for sports infrastructure the aid amount will not exceed the operating losses over the relevant period. This will be ensured ex ante, on the basis of reasonable projections, or through a claw-back mechanism.
  • As an alternative, where the aid amount does not exceed €1m the maximum aid amount may be set at 80% of eligible costs.

The thresholds [1] for the amount of aid granted under this Scheme are as follows:

  • For investment aid: up to EUR 15 million, or the total costs not exceeding EUR 50 million per project
  • For operating aid: EUR 2million per infrastructure per year

Cumulation of aid

Aid provided under the Scheme may be cumulated with other forms of aid exempted under the Regulation and provided through this scheme as long as those aid measures concern different identifiable eligible costs.

Aid provided under this Scheme may only be cumulated with other aid exempted under the Regulation and/or the de minimis regulation, where, in respect of the same totally or partially overlapping eligible costs, such cumulation does not result in the highest aid intensity or aid amount applicable under the Regulation and/or relevant scheme(s) being exceeded.

All sources of public funding shall be taken into account when considering cumulation and in determining that the relevant aid intensity or aid amount is not exceeded.

Full text of the General Block Exemption Regulation 

[1] It should be noted that the aid amounts stated reflect the maximum levels of support permitted under the Regulation and sportscotland may set lower aid intensities and/or thresholds for specific projects under the Scheme.

Date published: 14 August 2017
Date updated: 10 October 2018

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