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Funding boost for struggling sports leagues and governing bodies

Funding is already helping competitions to go ahead and to help keep key organisations going through the pandemic.

19th February 2021

Netball and women’s football are two of the biggest beneficiaries in the latest round of funding allocations from the Sport Winter Survival Package (SWSP).

Following last month’s announcement of £10 million to support steps 3-6 of the National League system, this announcement sees the confirmation of £2.25m for the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship.

Netball has also received £4.2m from the £300m government pot, which has allowed the Vitality Super League to begin, while a combined £4m has also been confirmed for badminton and basketball.

An FA Women's Super League game between Reading and Everton, played in front of empty stands.

The SWSP was announced in November to protect the immediate future of major spectator sports in England directly affected by coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions on spectators attending fixtures and events between October 2020 and March 2021.

Sport England is administering the fund for the government and our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, who is also a member of the independent board deciding funding allocations, is pleased to see the money being awarded.

“The confirmation of Sport Winter Survival Package funding for these sports is very welcome news and reaffirms the government’s commitment to helping the sector navigate these unprecedented times – and to making sure the support is placed where it is needed most,” he said.

“Alongside over £220 million of Sport England and National Lottery funding that has been made available for grassroots sport since the pandemic hit, the Sport Winter Survival Package is providing vital help to sports who rely so heavily on spectators for their income.

“As part of our continued formal involvement, Sport England looks forward to continuing to play a key role in managing administering the package at pace.”

Funding to survive

The £2.25m for women’s football will be in grant form and will help support essential league costs, with the sport also receiving a proportion of the 250,000 free coronavirus lateral flow testing kits the government’s making available to elite sports – with women’s sport being designated as a priority area.

The £4m for basketball and badminton will see Badminton England receive a grant of £1.3m, while the British Basketball League – men’s and women’s – will get £2.5m in a combination of grants and loans, and England Basketball’s been allocated a £200,000 grant.

This money for the basketball, badminton and netball national governing bodies is designed to cover essential costs and ensure the survival of these organisations that provide so much for grassroots sports.

"We are committed to helping our treasured sports through these challenging times. And today’s announcement is more evidence of our support for them,” said Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“In particular, women’s sport has faced acute pressures. The past few years have seen fantastic progress – with greater participation, employment, commercial opportunities and visibility in the media. I am determined not to let it take a back seat again.

“This targeted funding will enable sports to keep playing and inspire many more stars of the future.”

Further confirmations of funding from the SWSP will be made in due course.

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