Premiership clubs to receive £88m in government loan support

Premiership Rugby clubs are set to receive £88m (€103m/$122m) in loan support as part of the latest round of funding in the UK government’s Sport Survival Package, with horse racing and rugby league among the other sports set to benefit.

A rigorous application and due diligence process has been carried out to determine the financial needs of Premiership clubs. The financial support will cover essential survival costs as the league continues to deal with empty stadia due to COVID-19.

Premiership Rugby said the funding will allow the league to complete its 2020-21 season as clubs suffer from lost ticketing revenue. The government recently announced more than £40m in funding to support grassroots rugby union clubs, up to £5.5m to support the launch of the men’s Championship, and £1.1m for professional women’s rugby.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We know that the restrictions on spectators continue to have consequences for many sports. That includes rugby union and its clubs at the elite level through to the grassroots.

“That’s why we’re helping our major spectator sports, with money already benefiting more than 100 organisations, from women’s football, to netball, badminton and basketball, with more to follow as we navigate our roadmap back to normality.

“This funding will support the survival and continued visibility of men’s domestic rugby union at the highest level, allowing the league to complete its season.”

Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs added: “We have now completed almost two full seasons without fans in stadia, with the loss of matchday revenue, and that would not have been financially possible without the help of the government’s Winter Sport Survival Package.

“When the country emerges from the pandemic the Premiership clubs will continue to play a pivotal role in the future health of the nation. We see these loans as a vote of confidence in Premiership Rugby and our clubs to be able to fulfil that role.”

The government also announced today that £40m in support funding will be provided to horse racing, rugby league, speedway and drag racing, with a further £10m to be given to football clubs in the National League across Steps 1-6.

Horse racing will benefit from £21m in loan support, with the funding to ensure essential race day integrity costs and related health and safety expenditure are safeguarded. Men’s professional rugby league clubs will also receive a further £16.7m in loans, delivered as a top-up to the existing £16m emergency loan scheme provided by the government in May 2020.

In motorsport, speedway clubs have been offered £300,000 in loan support, with Santa Pod Raceway to receive £843,000.

Dowden said: “We promised to stand by and protect our major spectator sports when we had to postpone fans returning. Through our Sport Survival Package and existing business support schemes, we have helped hundreds of clubs to survive this difficult winter period. As the turnstiles begin to open over the coming weeks, players, staff and fans across the country can now look forward to a full return to action with confidence.”

The £300m winter phase of the government’s Sport Survival Package is designed to help major spectator sports that have been severely impacted by the pandemic over recent months. In recent weeks, funding has also been provided to National League and women’s football, badminton, basketball, netball and ice hockey.

Image: Premiership Rugby