By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
An upsurge in Coronavirus cases is continuing to wreak havoc on sport and physical activity in the UK and has led to a coalition of more than 100 sports bodies sending a letter to the Government requesting emergency funding for this sector.
This coalition includes the English Premier League and the English Football Association, as well as governing bodies representing tennis, cricket and rugby union.
Over the past months, sporting events have taken place without spectators, reducing revenues and putting jobs at risk in the sports sector.
Sport and physical activity are reportedly worth more than £16 billion and provide 600,000 jobs to the UK economy.
Furthermore, a pilot scheme to allow a limited number of spectators in sports stadia as from 1 October has been put on hold for the time being.
According to the letter, the bodies concerned “require a comprehensive support package for the sport and physical sector to aid its recovery.”
Such package, the letter goes on to say:
“….. must combine investment, tax incentives, and regulatory reform. COVID-19 has undermined our commercial revenue streams with both stadiums and leisure facilities closed or greatly reduced in capacity.”
The letter concludes by claiming that, without Government aid, there will be “a lost generation of sport and activity and that the future of the sector is perilous.”
A dire warning indeed and it will be interesting to see the UK Government’s response!