The Sports industry was one of the hardest hit, in the UK, during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Not only did most sports stop indefinitely but, upon their return, little or no fans were allowed to watch the matches or games from the stands. Despite billions in lost income, elite sport organisations were offered no specific government financial support to ensure their survival.
Recognising the importance of this industry for many, from spectators, professionals and even the media, allowed many sports to return in June. This was possible with the implementation of the strictest conditions, but with a view to ensure a safe return for all.
In cricket, no detail went overlooked for matches to go ahead in the summer of 2020. Any break in the rules was met with the heaviest handed response. Jofra Archer bore witness to such punishment when he inadvertently broke the rules by seeing a friend in the middle of a test series. He had to self-isolate by himself in a hotel room for five days. He said it was like being “trapped” and counted down the days until freedom.
The return of sports was accompanied with enormous financial cost and sacrifice, but it became a summer of extraordinary entertainment and a mandatory distraction for millions of fans wanting to think and talk about something other than the pandemic. Players, journalists, coaches, support staff were forced to “bubble” for weeks to return.
Such sacrifices stretched the political division between elite sports and the Government. Aside from the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLIS); sports was largely isolated to finance its own response to the pandemic.
Rick Parry, the EFL chairman said that that the 72 clubs had been either “ignored or forgotten” by the Government. Citing the wider concern that this might be the end for local clubs, outside of the elite of the Premier League.
An Alternative Solution
Unbeknown to many sports organisations, there is an available source of funding for sports clubs which has been in place for more than 20 years, through the R&D tax credit scheme. This has previously supported the funding of many activities, such as; improving athlete performance, sports medicine, sports textiles and many more.
However, this scheme may also apply to many of the costs financed by clubs to make their respective games “coronavirus ready”. Going forward; it is highly likely that more costs will need to be spent to make stadiums safe for people to attend safely. The amount of integration of medicine and technology will certainly increase.
We look forward to seeing how this scheme may shape the return of the, much missed, sports industry.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our Sports Organistions Industry page.