With the UK General Election looming, TheStadiumBusiness takes a look at the three main parties’ plans for the stadium and events sector.
Labour has vowed to push sports authorities into making “rapid improvements” on access provision for fans with disabilities at venues across the country.
The UK’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report earlier this year that accused some Premier League football clubs of failing to carry out “basic adaptations” in the past 20 years. In recent months, clubs such as Liverpool, Leicester City and Bournemouth have announced plans to improve access at their grounds.
Labour also said it would review extending the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues, while also introducing a so-called ‘agent of change’ principle in planning law, to ensure that new housing developments can exist alongside existing music venues.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to make a move towards ‘safe standing’ at football grounds, requiring the Sports Grounds Authority to prepare guidance for implementing such a change.
The Liberal Democrats have also said the party would examine available funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector with the intention of protecting venues from further closures.
While there is no specific reference to the stadia or ticketing sectors in the Conservatives’ manifesto, the Digital Economy Act, which featured anti-bots legislation, was deemed important enough to be rushed through in the final days of the last Parliament.
Speaking this week to Music Week, Culture Secretary and prospective Conservative Matt Hancock said: “I’m incredibly proud of the measures that I put through to make bots in secondary ticket markets illegal at scale.
“It has become a big problem, so I’m delighted that the last law Parliament passed before the election was the law to ban secondary ticketing harvesting in large numbers by bots. I hope that we can win the election so that we can see that put into practice. It’s a big step forward and it’ll have a big impact.”
Labour’s manifesto also made some reference to matters relating to the ticketing sector. It reads: “The broken ticketing market in the UK means tickets sell out instantly and are put up at vastly inflated prices on ticket-tout websites. Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.”
Labour also said it would work with relevant organisations to prevent fans losing train travel money when football fixture dates are changed.