I appreciate that following the decision to delay the return of fans to sports games we are in a difficult moment for British sports, but I know that the Government is committed to supporting the sector as best it can. I understand you want to see fans return to the stadium, however, in light of increasing numbers of cases, this is unlikely in the immediate future. Ministers have not forgotten this important sector and they will support football clubs in every way possible.
Ministers have already worked hard to get grassroots sport back up and running. They have made sure the sector was eligible for business support schemes such as business rates relief for leisure businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. They also worked with Sport England to provide a £195 million package of support to help community sport, boosted by a further £15 million from its own Community Emergency Fund, and helped provide a clear path to recovery such as by bringing elite sport back behind closed doors.
The Prime Minister has now tasked his colleagues with looking at a package of measures to support sports that rely on fan attendance financially. The aim is to ensure sports can emerge on the other side ready to make a huge contribution to our communities and to national life that we value.
Ministers are speaking with affected sports intensively; their input will be vital. They have asked that organisations that are concerned about the postponement of fans returning engage urgently with their respective National Governing Bodies, to help ensure they are fully apprised of the situation within their sports.
I have been assured that the Government as a whole recognises the gravity of the situation facing clubs and organisations across the country, and are working hard to ensure that British sport bounces back as soon as possible.
The Culture Secretary has been in dialogue with the Premier League, which is having constructive discussions with the English Football League about providing support. He has said he is confident that they will come to a sensible conclusion.
The Government especially appreciates the immediate pressure National League clubs are under in respect of re-starting their season. Ministers are working at pace, including with the Football Association, to design a package of support that will give the National League the reassurance it needs. They have expressed commitment to play resuming in these historic leagues, in a viable way.