A £17.7m funding package, to help spectator sports severely impacted by the pandemic, has been announced by the Welsh Government.
It has been designed to provide immediate financial support for spectator sports through the remainder of the winter period to ensure that sports will be ready for the beginning of the new season in September.
Support will be provided to rugby union, football, cricket and ice hockey. Rugby league, netball and horseracing are also in line to benefit. The funding will ensure the short-to-medium term survival of sports organisations and clubs who have been financially impacted by the restrictions on spectators at sporting events.
The revenue funding package will be allocated to the sports’ national governing bodies directly from the Welsh Government.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: “While restrictions on supporters at events have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, there can be no doubt that they have created real hardships for many sports clubs, many of whom receive a significant proportion of their income through spectator attendance.
“Sport is an important sector of our economy and has a positive impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. Sporting events provide important shared experiences, have often been a welcome distraction during the pandemic and will be a vital player in our recovery and healing after the crisis.
“I know this money will provide some stability to those sports worst affected by the loss of revenue during the pandemic, helping to bridge the financial gap until spectators are able to return safely.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “We’re committed to providing a responsible and targeted approach to addressing the financial impact of the pandemic. The package of support we have announced today takes the total funding for this sector to more than £40m since the start of the crisis, helping to provide longer-term stability for a sector that has suffered significant financial loss.
“As we look ahead to brighter days, sport and physical activity will be vital players in our recovery, helping to develop a healthier and more resilient Wales.”
(Lead image: Christopher Elkins / Wikimedia)