The uks leading sports organisations have called for a taxpayer-funded bailout, as the government prepares to scrap a planned reopening of stadiums in a move that threatens the industrys fragile finances.
The premier league, rugby football union, the england and wales cricket board and british cycling are among a group of 100 sports bodies that have written to prime minister boris johnson this week.
They are demanding a financial rescue that includes investment, tax incentives, and regulatory reform to avoid a lost generation of sport and activity across the country. the measures would be similar to the 1.5bn package to support the arts and culture sector in july.
The call comes as ministers are expected to halt plans to allow fans back into stadiums next month. a rising number of covid-19 infections across the country is leading to discussions over wider restrictions on everyday life.
The government had already begun scaling back plans to allow spectators into grounds, with pilot events taking place this month restricted to just 1,000 people, while plans to allow stadiums to be up to a third full from october are under review.
Many other countries, such as us, germany and japan, have begun to allow the partial return of spectators at sporting events.
Baroness tanni grey-thompson, the paralympic gold medallist and chair of ukactive, the non-profit organisation that represents the sports and fitness industries, wrote in the letter to the prime minister cosigned by other sports bodies:
We are united in our concern that at a time when our role should be central to the nations recovery, the future of the sector is perilous.
Covid-19 has exposed the fragility of vital services and assets, with sports clubs and fitness facilities facing permanent closure, depriving local communities of facilities and programmes on which they depend.
The premier league, english footballs top division, has said its clubs face 540m revenue shortfall due to lost match-day income this season, though this figure is likely to rise as the projection was based on a presumption that some fans would have been allowed back into stadiums from october.
In recent weeks, the rfu and ecb, the national governing bodies of rugby union and cricket respectively, have announced widespread redundancies in an effort to cut costs.
Darren childs, chief executive of premiership rugby, told the financial times last week that already lossmaking top-tier english rugby union clubs face the very real prospect of going bust without the return of paying spectators in the coming months.
Its becoming increasingly more alarming, the longer it goes on, he said. were trying to keep the show on the road.