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19th Nov 2020

Horseracing given £12m more than non-league and women’s football in government sports package

Wayne Farry

This has absolutely nothing to do with Matt Hancock’s constituency being Newmarket, nothing at all

The allocation of the government’s sports survival package has been revealed today, with £300 million to be doled out among a variety of organisations overseeing different sports across the country.

Sports in the United Kingdom have found themselves struggling enormously due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the impact that social distancing and lockdown measures have had on attendances and subsequent ticket revenues.

The fund, which reportedly consists of mostly loans, does not cover the Premier League or the EFL. The government has repeatedly called on the top flight to provide financial assistance to the EFL.

Out of the 11 sports who will receive financial support, rugby union has been the recipient of the most assistance, with a package of £135m – almost half the total made available.

That equates to £44m for the Rugby Football Union, and a total of £59m for Premiership clubs. A further £32 million is split between Championship clubs and clubs below that level.

In an interesting turn of events, horseracing is the second biggest winner out of the package, receiving £40m in financial assistance. Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is the MP for Newmarket, considered the home of horseracing.

He had received £68,000 in donations from figures in the industry as of June this year, when the sport became one of the first in England to restart during the pandemic.

That figure is £12m more than will be handed to non-league and women’s football. Just £25m in assistance will go to National League clubs, while women’s football in England will have to suffice with £3m.

Elsewhere, rugby league has received £12m, though further financial assistance is expected in the build up to the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.