New financial boost for non-league football – and drag racing also gets Government support

The Government has announced horse racing, rugby league, speedway and drag racing will receive £40million in the latest tranche of funding from the winter phase of its sport survival package.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 29th March 2021, 8:51 am
The Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire
The Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire

There will also be approximately £10m for football clubs from the top six tiers of the National League system - including £3.1m of FREE money for those at steps 3-6 (locally, the Southern Premier League down to Division 1 of the Wessex League).

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Sport England said the horse racing industry will benefit from £21m in loan support to help ease the financial impact of the pandemic.

‘The funding will ensure essential race-day integrity costs and related health and safety expenditure are safeguarded, enabling the Levy Board to continue their programme of financial support and funding into the industry which has suffered considerably as a result of Covid-19,’ the DCMS said.

Rugby league clubs will receive a further £16.7m in loans as a top-up to the existing £16m emergency loan scheme provided by the Government in May 2020.

‘This is in addition to £1.45m of grant support from the scheme for the community and women’s games which complements £300,000 grassroots financial support through the Sport England Tackling Inequalities Fund,’ the DCMS said.

‘It follows the National Lottery announcing it had become an official partner of the Rugby Football League and of women’s and girls’ rugby league last week.’

Speedway clubs have been offered £300,000 in loan support and Europe’s first permanent drag racing venue, the Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, will receive loans of £843,000.

The DCMS said a further 20 clubs in the top two tiers of the National League system will receive funding of loans and grants worth £6.8m, bringing the total provided to clubs at these levels through the winter phase of the Sport Survival Package to £11.5m.

That follows the Government announcing that an initial 19 step 1-2 clubs had been offered loan packages worth up to £5.4m on February 19.

However, the fact financial aid was being offered in loans rather than grants eventually ensured the NL South and North seasons were declared null and void after the majority of clubs voted to stop playing.

Steps 3-6 of the National League system have also been awarded a further £3.1m of grant support, following on from up to £10m grant funding for clubs at that level being announced on January 27.

Clubs at steps 3-6 will be contacted directly by the Football Foundation with full details and will be able to make an application from tomorrow. Funds will be distributed quickly to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

‘This will bring the total support for the 880 clubs at Steps 3-6 of the National League system to up to £13.1m, with funds again to be distributed to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, administered by the Football Foundation.’

Culture Secretary Oliver 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.’