Sports clubs set to benefit as Government announce £300 million Sport Winter Survival Package

Major spectator sports in England will receive a combined £300 million cash injection to protect their immediate futures over the winter period.

Thursday, 19th November 2020, 12:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th November 2020, 1:18 pm
Government hand cash boost to winter sport

The Sports Winter Survival Package will support sports - from national governing bodies through to clubs - impacted by coronavirus restrictions.

The funding, which will be largely composed of loans, is the most generous of any Government for its domestic sport sector in the world, and will focus on sports severely impacted over the winter.

Support will be provided to rugby union, horse racing, women’s football and the lower tiers of the National League. Rugby League, motorsport, tennis, netball, basketball, ice hockey, badminton and greyhound racing are also in line to benefit.

Preliminary allocations have been made on a needs based assessment process and reflect the submissions made from the individual sports, and the funding process will be overseen by an independent decision-making board and supported by Sport England.

Football will be given £28 million, broken down into three categories, with Scarborough Athletic, Whitby Town and Bridlington Town set to be given a share of the £14 million for steps 3 to 6.

The categories are shown below:

National League (steps 1-2): £11 million. This follows the announcement that National League clubs at steps 1-2 would receive £10 million National Lottery funding to keep them afloat up to the end of 2020, following a unique deal brokered by the Government.

National League (steps 3-6): £14 million

Women’s Football (Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship): £3 million

Today’s announcement builds on support the government has already given the sport sector to help it stay afloat during this difficult time.

Earlier this year the Government stepped in to protect rugby league with £16 million in emergency loans, and in October announced that £100 million would be provided to support council-run leisure centres most in need. Sport England announced a £220 million emergency fund for grassroots clubs in April.

These interventions were on top of the multi-billion pound package of business support from the Treasury that have enabled many sports clubs and leisure businesses to survive, including the furlough scheme and business interruption loan scheme. Sports have accessed many hundreds of millions of pounds of support through this.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "Sports clubs are the beating hearts of their communities, and this £300 million boost will help them survive this difficult winter period.

"We promised to stand by sports when we had to postpone fans returning. We are doing just that by delivering another £300 million on top of existing business support schemes.

"Britain is a sports powerhouse, and this Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through covid."

Nigel Huddleston, Sports Minister, said: "Over the past few weeks we have worked tirelessly with sport governing bodies and clubs across the country to fully assess what support is needed, as a result of the decision to postpone the return of fans.

"We know the vast majority of sports - many of which operate on tight financial margins - have been making serious cost reductions, such as locking down grounds, taking up the furlough scheme for many staff and halting excess payments.

"Whilst the Government’s overall economic package has provided a significant buffer, it is absolutely right that we now intervene to protect entire sports, and the communities they support, as we navigate this pandemic."

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, said: "These are unprecedented times for our sector, and those sports and leagues that rely so heavily on spectators for their income that have been especially impacted by the pandemic. The role they play in their local communities is vital and this package of support from Government will be hugely welcomed.

"Alongside our wider support for grassroots and community sport, Sport England is working very closely with Government colleagues on the design of this fund and we look forward to playing a key role in its successful and swift delivery."

Full details on the Sports Winter Survival Package, including when it will open, eligibility and how to apply, will be announced by Sport England in due course.

It is expected that the first tranche of funding will be distributed in the coming weeks.