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British Sports Get $400 Million Government Bailout
The U.K. government announced a $400 million “Winter Survival Package” to aid sports organizations in England while fans are banned from sporting events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Largely comprised of loans, the package will be distributed across national governing bodies, leagues and clubs.
Funding will be dispersed among 11 sports: rugby union, rugby league, horse racing, soccer, motorsport, tennis, netball, basketball, ice hockey, badminton and greyhound racing. Rugby union will receive the most of any sport, with $78 million being dedicated to Premiership Rugby clubs. England’s top two tiers of women’s soccer, the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship, will get $4 million.
Absent from the package is the Premier League and English Football Association, the country’s top two men’s soccer leagues, as well as cricket. Government officials have previously argued that professional men’s soccer is wealthy enough to support itself amid the pandemic.
Parliament has yet to confirm a date for when fans will be allowed to return to sporting events in England amid the second wave of COVID-19. “Britain is a sports powerhouse, and this Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through covid,” said Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the U.K.