Budget 2021: Cricket to get ‘significant slice’ of £300m package to help sports – BBC Sport

The ECB said in September 2020 that the game could lose over £100m, and potentially up to £200m

English cricket will receive a “significant chunk” of a new £300m summer sports recovery package.

Tennis and horse racing are also set to benefit when UK chancellor Rishi Sunak presents his Budget on Wednesday.

“There’s nothing that says summer more than watching your favourite team,” said Sunak.

“I can’t wait for sports grounds to be filled with fans with atmosphere again – this £300m cash boost will help make that a reality.”

Details of how the cash will be distributed, how organisations can apply and timeframes, are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

This will only benefit sports in England, with a total of £57m of separate funding to be provided for the Scottish government (£29m), Welsh government (£18m) and Northern Ireland executive (£10m).

The financial boost comes after an initial £300m was made available last November for certain sports in what was called Winter Survival Package.

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesperson said: “We welcome the government’s intention to extend the support given to winter sports so that cricket and other summer sports are given a financial safety net and are able to bid as well.

“Playing behind closed doors for all of last season has already had a severe financial impact on cricket, and that will continue this year until full crowds are able to return.”

The government is under pressure to use the Budget to do more to support the physical activity sector too. Industry body UK Active says 400 gyms, pools and leisure centres have already closed permanently as a result of lockdown, with thousands more at risk, along with 100,000 jobs.

Although such facilities can reopen from the second stage of lockdown easing in April, group classes indoors cannot resume until mid-May.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed a potential UK and the Republic of Ireland bid for the 2030 World Cup. Fifa’s formal bidding process to stage the tournament will be launched next year.

In an interview with The Sun,external-link Johnson said: “We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place.”

The paper says Sunak’s Budget will set aside £2.8m to promote the UK and Ireland’s official pitch to Fifa.

Johnson added that he is offering Britain’s stadiums to host every game of this year’s delayed European Championship.

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