Written evidence submitted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (TER0054)




The Sport and Recreation Alliance

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is the umbrella body for the national and representative bodies of sport and recreation. We have over 300 members drawn from across the sector including national governing bodies of sport and recreation (NGBs), national and regional associations, Active Partnerships, sport for development charities, outdoor recreation and movement and dance bodies. Our membership is diverse and delivers everything from traditional sport to outdoor recreation, movement, dance and physical activity.

Our role is to bring together the sport and recreation sector and support our members to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities. We are the voice of the sector with Government, policy makers and the media. We help get the nation active at the grassroots by providing advice, support and guidance.


  1. Introduction


1.1         The Sport and Recreation Alliance welcomes the opportunity to respond to this Call for Evidence on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill. The draft legislation is an important milestone in ensuring the safety and security of people in publicly accessible locations and reducing the risk of terrorist incidents, such as the Manchester Arena attack.


1.2              Sports bodies and event organisers take their safety and security responsibilities seriously and are committed to ensuring their venues and events are as safe as possible. It is therefore important that any new requirements, whether applied to stadiums and major events or grassroots community sports clubs and facilities, are proportionate to the risk and do not result in unintended consequences. In the submission below we outline a number of areas for consideration in the development of the legislation.


1.3              We would encourage the Committee to consider this submission alongside those of our individual members who will be able to provide further detail on issues specific to their individual sports and activities.

  1. Key points


2.1              Before addressing specific elements of the draft Bill, we would make the following key points:




  1. Application to grassroots community sport and recreation


3.1              Grassroots community sport and recreation organisations are an essential part our social fabric, providing participation opportunities to millions of people across the country. Participation in sport and recreation offers significant benefits to physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as delivering on other key national policy priorities such as economic development, educational attainment, crime and community cohesion.


3.2              Grassroots sport and recreation is delivered in a wide variety of locations including sports clubs, community sport and leisure facilities, parks and the natural environment and multi-use sites. Most of this activity is delivered by a volunteer workforce which is already under pressure following the COVID-19 pandemic and now the cost of living crisis. Research by the Alliance shows that grassroots community clubs have seen their financial position deteriorate following the pandemic whilst at the same time facing steeply rising costs and growing pressures on volunteers.[1] Further, recent research from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) found that overall volunteering numbers across society have declined significantly since the pandemic with the proportion of the UK population who organise or help run activities falling by 52% from 14% in 2019/20 to 7% in 2021/22.[2]


3.3              We are therefore concerned that the legislation will place further significant administrative burdens on volunteers and potentially divert scarce resources away from the provision of participation opportunities. We believe the risk of terrorism at grassroots community sports clubs and facilities is low and as such the requirements must be proportionate and balanced against broader Government policy objectives to increase participation in sport and recreation and reduce inequalities.


3.4              Against this background we would make the following specific points:


  1. Application to elite/professional sport


4.1              At the elite/professional level, most sports grounds already operate according to a well-established safety regulatory framework which is set out in statute and overseen by the SGSA and local authorities. This regime is specifically tailored to sport and ensures high standards of safety and security by requiring venue operators to undertake appropriate risk assessments and put in place detailed safety and security plans, including measures to address the risks associated with terrorism.


4.2              Against this background we would make the following points:






June 2023



















[1] Sport and Recreation Alliance, The Cost of Living Crisis – The impact on grassroots community sport and recreation: https://sramedia.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/791bc03f-a80f-438b-9780-0fc10a731cbb.pdf

[2] NCVO, Key Findings from Time Well Spent 2023: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/news-and-insights/news-index/key-findings-from-time-well-spent-2023/#/