Horseracing at Punchestown Festival

Government confirms £300 million Sports Rescue Package

The government has announced a £300 million winter rescue package to help protect the future of sports in the UK.

The sports rescue package was briefly mentioned during the parliamentary debate on 9th November where Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, discussed the issue of fans returning to stadiums.

Many sports across the UK have been heavily impacted financially due to lack of ticket revenue as COVID-19 continues to prevent fans from entering stadiums.

News of the sports rescue package follows comments that sport has been ‘left behind’ in comparison to the likes of the arts industry, which received a £1.57 billion government bailout back in July.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) noted the importance of sports clubs within the community and how the £300 million sports rescue package will help them to survive through the brutal winter period.

Discover how the sports rescue package will be distributed and what this means for the future of sporting events.

Which sports will be covered in the rescue package?

The funding, which is being hailed as a ‘winter survival package’, will cover eleven different sports.

The sports rescue package is currently set to be distributed as follows (although the final amounts could be subject to change in line with decisions from an independent board):

Rugby – £135m

  • Rugby Football Union: £44m
  • Premiership clubs: £59m
  • Championship clubs: £9m
  • Clubs below Championship: £23m

Horseracing – £40m 

Distributed across racecourses

Football – £28m

  • National League (steps 1-2) – £11m
  • National League (steps 3-6) – £14m
  • Women’s Football (Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship) – £3m

Rugby League – £12m

Distributed amongst the Rugby Football league

Motorsport – £6m 

To be distributed across owners/operators of major circuits including Silverstone, Goodwood, The British Automobile Racing Club and MotorSport Vision.

Tennis – £5m 

Distributed amongst the Lawn Tennis Association

Netball – £4m

  • England Netball – £2m
  • Super League Netball – £2 million

Basketball – £4m 

  • Basketball England – £1m
  • British Basketball League clubs (including Women’s British Basketball League clubs) – £3m

Ice Hockey – £4m 

Distributed amongst the Elite League

Badminton – £2m

Distributed amongst Badminton England

Greyhound racing – £1m 

Distributed amongst Greyhound Board of Great Britain

Regarding the lack of football funding, Nigel Huddleston made it clear during the parliamentary debate on 9th November that elite football should look after itself. He commented that Premier League clubs are not short on money but that funds are not distributed correctly.

Conservative MP Julian Knight highlighted the financial turmoil currently experienced within the EFL due to lack of matchday revenue.

It’s been reported that the EFL has now accepted a £50 million bailout from the Premier League, having rejected two offers previously, as they only covered league one and league two clubs.

How will the sports rescue package be funded?

The sports rescue package will consist of both grants and loans. Nigel Huddleston is due to make a statement regarding the structure of the sports rescue package in the House of Commons on later today. 

He has acknowledged the tight financial margins within the majority of sports, all of whom have had to operate on severe cost reductions since the outbreak of COVID-19.

When will the funds for the sports rescue package be released?

The DCMS confirmed that the first tranche of sports funding would be dispersed over the coming weeks, though a specific date has not yet been announced.

The future of UK sporting events

Following the parliamentary debate where several MPs urged the government to allow fans to return to stadiums, the DCMS has now proposed for fans to return in December. The proposal is yet to be confirmed by the government but is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Sports fans very much welcomed the proposal as Huddleston was initially unable to provide a timeframe of when fans could be expected to return.

With recent reports regarding vaccine developments, it is hoped that fans will be able to safely return to stadiums in the not too distant future, providing a much-needed boost to the UK sporting industry. 

Until then, it is hoped that the sports rescue package provided by the government will keep sports going through the winter period.

We can’t wait to welcome back our clients to some of the UK’s elite sporting venues as soon as it is safe to do so.