The UK government has pledged a further £50 million to sports clubs and organisations across the country as part of the latest tranche of funding from the ‘Winter Survival Package’.
Horse racing, rugby league, speedway and drag racing are set to benefit from a combined £40 million, whilst National League clubs from steps one to six will receive approximately £10 million in financial support.
Breaking down the sum, professional men’s rugby league clubs will pocket £16.7 million in loans to top up the existing £16 million emergency loan scheme provided by the government in May last year. This is in addition to £1.45 million of grant support from the scheme for the community and women’s games, following on from the announcement that the National Lottery would become an official partner of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League last week.
Meanwhile, Europe’s first permanent drag racing venue, the Santa Pod Raceway, has been boosted by a £843,000 loan support, whilst Speedway clubs have been offered a £300,000 loan of the same nature.
Chair of the Independent Board, Sir Ian Cheshire, noted: “As we look to the conclusion of the Winter phase of the Sport Survival Package, this tranche of £50 million in support funding for rugby league, horse racing, speedway, drag racing, and clubs playing in football’s National League will ensure these clubs and organisations are able to sufficiently recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.
“Following the government’s announcement that a further £300 million of Sport Survival funding has been made available, the Independent Board will now focus on getting this funding to those summer spectator sports in most urgent need.”
Strengthening its support of the horse racing industry during the pandemic, the government has included £21 million in loan support committed to the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), covering essential race day integrity costs and ensuring related health and safety expenditure are safeguarded.
The fee will allow the Board to continue its programme of support, aiding the industry which has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and its stakeholders.
“We promised to stand by and protect our major spectator sports when we had to postpone fans returning,” remarked Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden.
“Through our Sport Survival Package and existing business support schemes, we have helped hundreds of clubs to survive this difficult winter period. As the turnstiles begin to open over the coming weeks, players, staff and fans across the country can now look forward to a full return to action with confidence.”
Finally, 20 clubs across the top two levels of the National League system will receive funding of loans and grants worth £6.8 million, bringing the total provided to clubs in the aforementioned non-league tiers through the previous phase of the Sport Survival Package to £11.5 million.
Steps three to six of the pyramid are also set to benefit from a further £3.1 million of grant support, with funds to be distributed to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, administered by the Football Foundation and welcomed by FA Chief Executive, Mark Bullingham, as ‘crucial at this difficult time’ for clubs that ‘play a pivotal role in the heart of their communities’.