'Major spectator sports in England' to receive cash injections

The UK government has announced a rescue package of £300m of emergency funding for “major spectator sports in England” to stave off the impact of missing fans during the coronavirus pandemic. Rugby union in England is set to be one of the chief beneficiaries.

The government has said the ‘Sports Winter Survival Package’ will be largely composed of loans. Support has been set aside for rugby union, horse racing, women’s football and the lower tiers of the National League, as well as rugby league, motorsport, tennis, netball, basketball, ice hockey, badminton and greyhound racing – though the sums allocated to each vary. Cricket and Premier League football miss out.

Rugby union is set to get the largest share of the funding as the sport fights to stay afloat while we wait for the return of spectators.

According to the breakdown, the move means around £135m of the £300m package will go to English rugby, with the Rugby Football Union set to get £44m. Gallagher Premiership clubs will receive £59m. Championship clubs will receive £9m. And it looks like £23m will be there for clubs below the Championship.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said in their statement: “Preliminary allocations have been made on a needs-based assessment process and reflect the submissions made from the individual sports. The funding process will be overseen by an independent decision-making board and supported by Sport England.”

DCMS secretary of state Oliver Dowden added: “Sports clubs are the beating hearts of their communities, and this £300m 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 £300m 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.”

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