Government willing to help sports that missed out on £300m funding, says Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston

Matt Majendie
·1-min read
Rugby Union was by far the biggest beneficiary of the package, receiving £135million in support  (Getty Images)
Rugby Union was by far the biggest beneficiary of the package, receiving £135million in support (Getty Images)

Sports that missed out on the Government’s £300million rescue package could still yet receive financial bailouts, according to Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

Eleven sports are to profit from £250m in loans and £50m in grants, the Government announced yesterday, with rugby union the primary beneficiary at £135m.

Critics suggested the money was not enough and that certain sports had been omitted. But Huddleston said: “If a sport feels it may not survive the winter, we’re open to listening to them. We’re not excluding any sports. That’s the purpose of this pot. It’s a survival fund.

“There may be a survivability factor but we will still consider them and happily talk to them. We are constantly engaging with them [other sports]. If we’re looking at March and cash flow with an existential threat, we’re happy to talk to them.”

Horse racing received the second highest amount of funding in the rescue package with £40m to specifically bail out racecourses.

And David Armstrong, chief executive of the Racecourse Association, said: “It doesn’t solve all the ills of our sport but it helps us bridge the period until crowds return.

“We weren’t in a position where lots of racecourses were about to close but, we were looking at a position come February or March if there was no sign of crowds returning at that point a number of racecourses would be in trouble.

“The real prize is to get racegoers back. It’s about 50% of revenue that comes from spectators, food and beverage and everything that goes with it. Without that, we’re still in a very difficult position.”

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