Government announces further £50m in emergency funding as part of ‘Winter Survival Package’ for sports

Government announces further £50m in emergency funding as part of ‘Winter Survival Package’ for sports

The government has announced a further £50m in emergency funding for sport in the latest tranche of its ‘Winter Survival Package’ to cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Horse racing, rugby league, speedway and drag racing will receive £40m, while non-League football clubs in National League steps 1-6 will benefit from an additional £10m in funding.

As part of the announcement, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We promised to stand by and protect our major spectator sports when we had to postpone fans returning.

“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.”

Horse racing will be given £21m in loans to enable “the Levy Board to continue their programme of financial support and funding into the industry which has suffered considerably as a result of Covid-19”, the DCMS statement read.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington said: “We are extremely grateful to officials at Sport England, DCMS and the Treasury for their support in agreeing this funding to racing.

“We are grateful also to the Horserace Betting Levy Board for agreeing to our proposal and borrowing this money to support the central funding of racing.

“This money will help ensure racing continues behind closed doors despite the absence of spectator revenues.

“This will benefit our racecourses, our participants and their communities, and the vital role racing plays as an employer and contributor to the rural economy.”

The government is giving £6.8m worth of grants and loans to a further 20 National League clubs across steps 1-2. It follows the February announcement that 19 sides in steps 1-2 had benefitted from loan packages worth up to £5.4m.

Clubs in steps 3-6 of the National League have been awarded £3.1m in grant support in addition to the £10m they received in January, bringing the total funding to £13.1m.

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “Clubs across the NLS system play a pivotal role in the heart of their communities and often support many youth teams. Support for them is crucial at this difficult time, so we welcome the Government’s additional funding.”

Men’s professional rugby league clubs will receive £16.7m in loans, on top of the existing £16m emergency loan scheme announced by the government in May 2020. There is also £1.45m worth of grant support for the community and women’s games.

Motorsports have also been offered approximately £1m in loan support, with Speedway clubs to receive £300,000 in loan support and Santa Pod Raceway to get £843,000.

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