Svenska Spel pays out grassroots sport funding early

16 April 2020

Swedish gambling operator Svenska Spel has brought forward a payment of SEK20m (£1.6m/€1.8m/$2.0m) to grassroots sports initiatives across the country due to concerns over how the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) will impact the projects.

Svenska Spel’s Gräsroten initiative, which has been running for over seven years, traditionally makes payments to grassroots associations in November of each year.

However, due to ongoing uncertainty about the long-term effects of coronavirus on grassroots projects in Sweden, Svenska Spel will advance part of the annual payment.

The SEK20m will now be split between 3,600 projects across the country, while Svenska Spel will make a further payment later in the year. In November 2019, the operator donated more than SEK50m for the seventh consecutive year as part of its Gräsroten initiative.

Most of the early payment will be allocated to grassroots football projects, with these initiatives to receive SEK11m. Some SEK3m will also be awarded to ice hockey associations, while handball projects will secure almost SEK1m in funding.

“We know that in many cases, many associations are already turning every Krona, and during this social crisis the economic situation becomes even tougher for sporting Swedes,” Svenska Spel chief executive Patrik Hofbauer said.

“Therefore, it was a matter of course for us, when we have the opportunity both technically and organisationally, to make an advance payment through Gräsroten. Of course, this does not solve all the problems, but we hope the advance payment will help a bit along the way.”

Björn Eriksson, chairman of the Swedish Sports Federation, added: “This is positive news. Many sports associations have lost revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and youth sports need all the support they can get in this situation.”