Summer Sports Rescue Package: Budget 2021

05 March 2021

A £300m summer sports recovery package confirmed in the Budget will be a welcome relief to many sports used to attracting crowds, which have been forced to shut down or operate behind closed doors over the last year. This has caused large-scale losses for sports that rely on match-day, hospitality and retail revenues and have incurred significant costs to preserve jobs and ensure that sports have and will be able to continue in a COVID-secure environment.   

As part of the roadmap to recovery, it was announced that sports can welcome back spectators from 17 May, though this is limited to the lower of 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity.

This summer sports rescue package is aimed at sports with competitions running over the summer, notably cricket, tennis, horse racing, rugby league and women’s football. The £300m package will only be available to sports in England, with separate amounts available in Scotland (£29m), Wales (£18m) and Northern Ireland (£10m).

The package will be available to governing bodies and clubs, and will be largely distributed through loans and grants, made available with the help of Sport England. This follows on from the winter sports survival package last November which offered £300m support to winter sports, mainly rugby union and football, which runs until 31 March 2021.

As well as supporting operating cash flows, it is hoped that funds can enable sports organisations to prepare for enhanced participation levels once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

It was also announced that funding would be made available to support a possible UK and Irish bid for the 2030 World Cup, with £2.8m being put towards the bid itself, and £25m being made available to develop grassroots football facilities – enough to build 700 new football pitches to be for teams and clubs.