The SPFL Trust and SPFL today announce a ground-breaking partnership which will see the SPFL’s Challenge Cup competition rebranded as the SPFL Trust Trophy.

And although the competition will not return until season 2021-22, with the agreement of the charity’s benefactors the SPFL Trust will support clubs and community trusts now – as well as next season via the competition sponsorship.

This is in recognition of the essential part that both SPFL clubs and associated community trusts (ATCs) play in their communities, as has been evident throughout the pandemic.

Originally the SPFL Trust Trophy had been due to be played this season.

It would have been supported by a package of funding totalling £240,000. This package would have included a sponsorship fee and a new programme of grants. The total value of this money would have gone to Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs or their associated community trusts via participation payments and the grant fund.

This was to have been funded by philanthropist James Anderson, as part of the £3,125,000 donation, announced back in June, and a second, anonymous donor whose total commitment will be £1.25m by the end of next June.

With the tournament postponed because of the restrictions upon supporters attending games, the SPFL Trust has now stepped in to provide this added support. This has only been possible with the agreement of the donors, who kindly agreed to adjust the use of funding for this purpose.

As such, a pot of £252,000 will be available immediately. This is slightly higher than originally intended as VAT is no longer due on the sponsorship fee element of the package. This has enabled the SPFL Trust, with donor agreement to use some of that income to increase the pot. A small proportion is being used for legal and administrative fees.

The £252,000 will now be made available immediately in the form of two grant schemes, to which eligible clubs and associated community trusts (ATCs) will shortly be able to apply:

● SPFL Trust Trophy Club Fund – Every SPFL Championship, League 1 and League 2 club will be entitled to apply for £4,200. The same parameters will apply as the previous £50,000 grant

● SPFL Trust Trophy Community Fund – Every community trust (or community department, where there is not a registered charity) will be entitled to apply for £4,200. The same parameters will apply as the previous £10,000 grant

When the SPFL Trust Trophy launches formally in 2021, the SPFL Trust will use the title partnership to activate a series of rights for community benefit, both via participating clubs and community trusts.

The charity will also use some of the rights to highlight flagship programmes such as Football Fans in Training, Scottish Football United, The Changing Room, 4-4-2 Reading Challenge, and A-Team. It will also support Scotland’s new national suicide prevention campaign, United To Prevent Suicide.

SPFL Trust interim chief executive Warren Hawke said: “We are delighted to reveal the new SPFL Trust Trophy and at the same time, be in a position to offer two new funding streams for clubs and community trusts, despite the competition’s 12-month delay. That has only been possible with the flexibility of our donors, for which we are extremely grateful.

“With the competition postponed for a season, the sponsorship fee had to roll over until 2021 under the terms of our agreement with the SPFL.

“However, we recognise the valuable contribution that both SPFL clubs and associated community trusts make to their communities. It is fair to say that the pandemic has continued to create unprecedented uncertainty, for clubs and their communities across Scotland.

“Our donors have enabled us to continue to offer a package of funding this season, whilst maintaining our commitment to sponsor the SPFL Trust Trophy next year.

“They have not only provided financial support but wise counsel, to ensure that the communities around our clubs are supported in the best way possible.

“When the tournament itself returns next year with a new look as the SPFL Trust Trophy, we will be using the rights and activation opportunities to shine a light on the extraordinary work of our associated community trusts and SPFL clubs (ATCs). We are committed to making this competition as accessible to communities as possible, by taking an innovative approach to activating the commercial rights.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “It’s a fantastic gesture by the benefactors and the SPFL Trust to enable this fund to be activated despite the tournament being cancelled this season.

“The newly-rebranded SPFL Trust Trophy highlights the sheer scale and variety of the work which the SPFL Trust and our 42 clubs undertake in their communities all year round. It’s thanks to the generosity of our benefactors that this life-changing work is able to help even more people throughout Scotland.

“At a time when fans are currently locked out of stadia, the SPFL Trust is helping to maintain and strengthen the crucial bonds between clubs, supporters and communities.”