Racing to benefit from Government funding package for coronavirus-affected sports
Up to £40 million of loans will be made available to British racing as part of the Government’s support package for sport in the continued absence of spectators.
The Government will provide a combined £300million cash injection to 11 sports hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Digital, Culture, Mediaand Sport has announced, with racing second to only rugby union in terms of the support it will receive.
Racing has been held behind closed doors since it resumed on June 1, barring two crowd pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick in September, with racecourses warning of dire consequences if the sport continues to operate without spectators.
The Government has recognised that plea in its Sport Winter Survival Package, providing the cash to help support racecourses – a move welcomed by the British Horseracing Authority.
It tweeted: “The BHA welcomes the announcement by @DCMS that up to £40m of loans will be made available for British racing. This recognises racing’s position as the UK’s second biggest spectator sport, the many livelihoods it supports and the financial peril faced across our industry.
“Working with racecourses and horsemen, the BHA put in a detailed submission to Government in October. This included an assessment of the economic impact of the absence of spectators for a further six months until the end of March.”
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Over the past few weeks we have worked tirelessly with sport governing bodies and clubs across the country to fullyassess what support is needed, as a result of the decision to postpone the return of fans.
“We know the vast majority of sports – many of which operate on tight financial margins – have been making serious cost reductions, such as locking down grounds, taking up the furlough scheme for many staff and halting excess payments.
“Whilst the Government’s overall economic package has provided a significant buffer, it is absolutely right that we now intervene to protect entire sports, and the communities they support, as we navigate this pandemic.”
Culture Secretary 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.”
The Government had hoped to allow spectators to return to venues on a socially-distanced basis from October 1, but it delayed those plans after a rise in coronavirus infections nationwide.
The final amount received by each sport or organisation may ultimately differ from the amounts which have been set out initially when final decisions are made by an independent decision-making board, and supported by Sport England.