The government has announced a multi-million ‘Survival Package’ to support spectator sports in winter – with events set to take place behind closed doors or pause completely over the coming weeks.
The £300 million funding, which will be largely composed of loans, will be available to clubs and organisations “most severely impacted” by the knock-on effects of the pandemic.
Rugby union will get the lion’s share of the funding – £135m – whilst horse racing has been earmarked to receive a hefty £40m.
£25 million has also been put on the table for non-league football, with £3 million going to women’s football.
The rest of the pot will be available for rugby league (£12m) motorsports (£6m), tennis (£5m), netball (£4m), basketball (£4m), ice hockey (£4m), badminton (£2m) and greyhound racing (£1m).
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.”
Fans have been banned from watching elite sport in many UK stadiums for eight months.
The original plan was to reintroduce spectators slowly from October 1, but pilots were paused following a rise in national COVID cases.
Smaller clubs were permitted to let supporters in at a reduced capacity with social distancing measures intact before the nation plunged back into lockdown in November.
Full details on the Sports Winter Survival Package are set to be announced by Sport England in due course, with funding distributed in the coming weeks.