Cash-strapped sports including rugby and racing to be handed a £300m aid package by Government… but there’s still NO help for professional football
- The Government are planning to reveal aid package to help sports on Thursday
- Rugby union and racing are among the beneficiaries due to the absence of fans
- Professional football has been omitted but non-league clubs may get help
The Government will announce a £300million package on Thursday to help cash-strapped sports through the winter and prevent many famous clubs from going bust.
Mail Online revealed the headline figure on Wednesday afternoon with Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston to confirm the finer details in parliament on Thursday.
Rugby union is understood to be the biggest beneficiary as the sport at both club and international level has been hit hard by the ban on spectators, with gate receipts at Twickenham alone accounting for 85 per cent of the RFU’s revenue.
The Government are due to announce a bailout of £300m to aid sports such as rugby union
Horse racing will also be a beneficiary – with the sport having suffered greatly without fans
However, professional football has been omitted with the sport expected to fix its own issues
The Government aid will comprise a combination of grants and loans given to 13 sports, including football, although that will be restricted to the Women’s Super League and the non-League game.
It has been made clear throughout the pandemic that the Government expect professional football to solve its own financial problems, and talks are continuing between the Premier League and EFL about the top flight providing a bailout for smaller clubs.
Negotiations centre on a £200m loan to Championship clubs and £50m grant for League One and Two with both parties confident an agreement can be reached.
The Government are expected to make funding available to support non-league clubs
The Government’s financial commitment will exceed even that of the Premier League, however, as they seek to safeguard the futures of a whole host of sports including horse racing, rugby league, basketball and netball.
As the country’s biggest spectator sport other than football, racing will be a major beneficiary as it has been hit particularly hard by the ban on crowds, which has had the doubly damaging effect of reducing the amount of gambling revenue it receives through the levy. The gambling industry has also suffered due to the closure of betting shops during both lockdown periods.
The Government are also in talks with all the major sports about resuming limited test events with spectators after lockdown. A handful of trials at football, cricket, rugby and racing were held successfully during the summer, but put on hold when the Rule of Six was introduced in September.
Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday that attendances would initially be capped at just 1,000 regardless of stadium capacity under controversial proposals for the return of fans.