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Support for rugby league

Volume 686: debated on Wednesday 30 December 2020

The petition of the residents of the constituency of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford,

Declares that Castleford Tigers rugby league club is at the heart of the town of Castleford, and supports the whole community, but is now under pressure; further declares that the rugby league faces financial difficulty as covid-19 restrictions mean that supporters cannot go to the Jungle or other grounds but clubs still have outgoing bills to pay; and further declares that it is vital that the Government provide proper support for the rugby league over the course of the pandemic.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to recognise the importance of the rugby league to towns by ensuring that they get the support they need to survive the pandemic.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Yvette Cooper, Official Report, 22 October 2020; Vol. 682, c. 1338 .]


Observations from the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Nigel Huddleston):

The Government recognise that rugby league is vitally important to communities across the country, with towns and villages making the sport the centre of their civic life.

That is why the Government announced on 1 May that the Rugby Football League (RFL) would receive a £16 million cash injection to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves. Rugby league was the first sport to receive such emergency loan support, reflecting both the Government commitment to protecting the sport and the precarious financial position of professional clubs. It has helped the sport to deal with the financial impact of covid-19. The RFL has been fully engaged with the process and is ensuring that the sport as a whole is aware of the assistance available and how to access it.

In November we announced a further provisional allocation of £12 million to rugby league as part of the sports winter survival package, to help the sport navigate the period to the end of March without supporters in stadia. Clubs are also able to access a range of support for the grassroots game via Sport England’s coronavirus funding.

The events of recent months have shown that the impacts of sport clubs reach beyond sport itself, and rugby league clubs have proved themselves the bedrocks of their communities during this pandemic.

We know this is a challenging period for all sports and we continue to work closely with the whole sector to understand the issues they face and how we can best support them through this difficult time.