'Lottery damages stadiums'

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The Independent Online
The Football Trust claimed yesterday that the organisation, which helps fund stadium redevelopment, has lost more than a third of its income because of the effect of the National Lottery.

Pools firms are the game's largest source of external funding - around pounds 45m a year - but have been badly hit by the Lottery. That has had a spin-off effect on the Trust, forcing a reassessment of grants to clubs struggling to bring their grounds into line with the Taylor Report.

"Football has been the country's largest Lottery loser," the Trust chairman, Lord Aberdare, said in his annual report. "Almost all the Trust's resources depend on the prosperity of the pools companies. The 35 per cent decline in our income has forced us to reassess our grant aid policy."

The Trust awarded pounds 28.65m grant aid in 1994-95 to assist clubs in implementing Taylor recommendations, but that level of funding might not be maintained, Lord Aberdare warned. "Much remains to be done at the smaller clubs, whose needs are now the greatest and whose means are the least," he said. "But there is a dark cloud hanging over future funding."

The Trust has also awarded grants for safety and improvement work, community schemes, anti-hooligan measures and the anti-racism campaign. Income in 1994-95 came from two pools sources, pounds 23m from the reduction in Pool Betting Duty and pounds 13m from the Littlewoods Spot the Ball competition.