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Sports Sector Issues Urgent Plea For Help

September 23, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Without a well-rounded emergency support package from government, Britain’s leading sports bodies say they won’t financially survive for much longer.

Government’s plans to scrap the October reopening of the country’s stadiums due to an already emerging second wave of infections are leaving the sector in an even more desperate position than before, leading sports bodies such as Rugby Football Union, the Premier League, and the England and Wales Cricket Board have reportedly written in a joint letter addressed to Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Demands Similar To Arts Relief

The concerns and demands in the letter are equal to those alleviated via a package worth £1.57 extended to the country’s arts and culture sector earlier on in July. Theatres, museums, cinemas, and other arts and culture organisations and businesses have remained closed ever since the mass shuttering of most of the U.K. economy in March.

The letter by the country’s sports organisations and leagues furthermore issues a dire warning over the future of sports in the country and makes reference also to the stark and imminent possibility of an entire generation of sport and sport-related activity lost across the country. In order to prevent a perilous future, the letter emphasises the importance of a financial help package having to not only offer actual monetary relief for the right now, but a combination of tax incentives, investment, and also regulatory reform.

The global health crisis has crippled the commercial revenue income streams of all major sports stadiums in the country, with many home stadiums and teams across the entire sector relying heavily on big sporting events and accompanying ticket sales. The shuttering of leisure activities associated with sports and with home stadiums have grossly undermined desperately needed revenue sources to an even further extent, which situation has now pushed the financial crisis deep into a state of financial crimson.

Premier League In Dire Straits

The English Premier League is a sporting subsector especially reliant on the sale of tickets and warned of its clubs already having had to weather more than £540 million in revenue lost due to the restrictions enforced on in-person spectator numbers. And though already desperate and insurmountable a figure, it is according to the EPL expected to rise even further and progressively quicker over the course of the coming months.

The letter addressed to the Prime Minister also outlines the contributions made by U.K. sport and physical activity in terms of the country’s economy and in particular, job security. The sector contributes more than £16 billion to the U.K. economy on an annual basis, states the letter, as well as at least 600,000 jobs.  

The U.K. sports sector will play a crucial combination role in government’s response to the disaster, say the authors in their joint letter. This combination includes aid provided in solving several societal issues, including the levelling out of health inequalities, the fight against obesity and other weight-related health threats, combatting crime, stimulating social togetherness, and even the relieving of loneliness and feelings of isolation and abandonment.

Help Them Help The Nation

In order for the sector to successfully do any of the above, argue the sports bodies in their letter of appeal, government’s backing is desperately required.

And according to Lisa Wainwright, who is chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the raw strength of a coalition made up of sports, recreation and physical activity cannot and should not be ignored in a very public call made to the Prime Minister, and to government.

Continued Wainwright, not only will the requested government support alleviate the plight of the sector and its people, but also that of the country’s National Health System as it eases pressures on the system, and thereby playing a crucial and a central part in the recovery of the British nation.

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