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Reply from the Minister for Sport re-grants etc.

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I have just received the following information from the Minister for Sport, following the contact I made with my MP in January:

. I am replying as the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage.

I was very pleased in November that the government was able to announce a major package of financial support through the £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package. I announced in the House of Commons that this support would be primarily in the form of loans with only a small proportion as grants. At no stage was the National League told by DCMS that its support would only be in the form of grants.

I understand that some National League clubs say that they only agreed to start their season on the basis that the National League told them they would be receiving grants.

It is unfortunate that the National League chose to communicate this to clubs without first clarifying the nature of the support with DCMS. This appears to be a regrettable misunderstanding but DCMS cannot be held responsible for internal communications between a governing body and its clubs.

An offer of grants, where loans could be afforded, would be inconsistent with support offered to other sports. All applicants across all sports will need to demonstrate there is the financial need to ensure their survival and they are approaching the government as a last resort. Where organisations are able to repay that support then that is the expectation.

It remains our intention to provide up to £25 million in support to the National League in the form of grants and loans, covering steps one to six. Sport England and the Independent Board are currently finalising the details of this support. On 27 January, I announced that steps 3-6 of the National League system will receive up to £10 million to protect the immediate future of approximately 850 clubs over the winter period. These are unprecedented times and I appreciate the concern and uncertainty this brings for football’s governing bodies and clubs across the country. I can assure you that DCMS remains unreservedly committed to working with the sector to maintain an accurate picture of the financial impact of COVID

19. We continue to pursue the safe return of spectators to put sport back on a sustainable long-term footing.

I hope this information is helpful.

Nigel Huddleston MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Sport, Tourism and Heritage

So, according to the Government, it was mainly loans all along! Make of the reply what you will, but if it wasn't grants back in October, why didn't the DCMS challenge what was being said at the time?

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Really thought it would be sooner than that in all honesty. Just hope the schools reopening don't cause a massive increase in cases again otherwise that will compeltely rule out this season

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