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MPs to examine risks to survival of community sports

16 October 2020

A new inquiry launched by the DCMS Committee will examine the risks to the future of community sport, highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The financial viability of our community sports clubs is in doubt, with many at risk even before the pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures. Venues that acted as social spaces have lost revenue from bar spend and hire fees as well as gate receipts. The loss of our local teams risks the loss of sports facilities, social clubs and community centres, not to mention the damage to health and wellbeing.

Sport in our communities will consider sports governance and funding across a range of activities that fall under the respective remits of UK Sport and Sport England. The predecessor DCMS Committee concluded that the current football business model was “not sustainable”, while rugby league, rugby union, cricket and swimming are among those described as being in a perilous state. MPs will examine the case for elite professional sports to support the lower leagues and grassroots.

MPs will seek to identify specific action required by ministers to guarantee the future survival of the community sports sector.

The DCMS Committee is calling for evidence from sports bodies, researchers and organisations involved in the community sports sectors.

Chair's comments

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said:

 “We’ve heard a lot about Covid’s impact on elite professional sport but we want to shift the focus to our communities - our venues, clubs and local teams, who play football, rugby or cricket.

“Grassroots sport has been hit particularly hard by lockdown and concerns over public health. We cannot take for granted the survival of clubs that offer so much to the people who engage with them and support them.

“We’ll be looking at the what help is needed now to safeguard sports clubs especially those whose viability was in doubt even before the pandemic. We’ll be questioning the organisations whose role it is to actively support them and asking when it comes to spending public money, how far up the ladder should community sport come?”

Further information

Image: PA/Lewis Stick