Rugby union biggest winner in sport's £300m 'winter survival package'

Paul MacInnes
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

The government has confirmed £300m in emergency funding for spectator sports in England, with rugby union by far the largest beneficiary.

Union will receive £135m in total, with £59m of that going to Premiership clubs. Rugby league, in contrast, will be given £12m. Horse racing is also to receive substantial support, totalling £40m. By contrast, netball will receive £4m and tennis £5m.

Related: UK government set to announce rescue package for ailing sports

The highest tiers of men’s professional football will not receive any funding as part of the “Sports Winter Survival Package”, with government having long argued that there is enough money in the game to sustain itself. Non-league football will be given support however, with £11m going to the National League. The Women’s Super League and Championship will also receive £3m.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain receives £1m. 11 sports in total are in line for government support.

This new money will mostly come in the form of loans, and has been agreed following submissions by individual sports, according to a “needs based assessment process”.

The size of the fund contrasts sharply with the headline £1.57bn made available for the arts sector earlier in the year under the Culture Recovery Fund. The government argues that the new package is the latest in a series of measures that apply to sport, including over £300m in grants and loans to the leisure sector.

Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “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.”