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Sports Bodies’ Bids to Host Major Sporting Events

Volume 703: debated on Thursday 18 November 2021

3. What recent steps her Department has taken to help support bids from sports bodies to host major sporting events. (904204)

The Government are fully committed to working with event organisers to bid for and host major sporting events. Over the past 15 years, some of the world’s most iconic events have taken place in the UK. That has cemented our position as a global home for these events, and we have an exciting programme of events in 2022, including the Commonwealth games, the women’s UEFA European championships, and something close to your heart, Mr Speaker, the rugby league world cup.

I thank the Minister for that response. It was great to see that the Department was successful in two of the bids in the spending review, but, as the Minister is aware, there was a third unsuccessful bid, which was to bring the Ryder cup back to England for the first time since 2002. Will the Minister confirm that it is still very much his ambition to continue with this 2031 Ryder cup bid? If it is, would he like to visit the Belfry in my constituency, which would be a perfect location for the event, so that he can see for himself the fantastic facilities that are on offer there?

I am really grateful to my hon. Friend and pay tribute to him for all the work that he does with the all-party group for golf. As he mentioned, there is ongoing work to explore the potential of a possible English bid to host the 2031 Ryder cup for the first time in England since 2002. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and UK Sport are in close contact with the key partners and venues, and our collective teams continue to work together to conclude this feasibility work and decide on the next steps. It is about the work as well as the finances here, and we will continue to work on this matter in every way that we can. I would be more than happy to visit his constituency and the Belfry and perhaps get round quite a few holes, including the last one.

Mr Speaker, you and I both support major sporting events coming to the UK, but I want to return briefly to the situation in cricket. The lesson for all sports is that those who fail to deal with cultures of racism and prejudice will ruin our country’s reputation, not build it. I know, Mr Speaker, that you and I, and all Members, Ministers and shadow Ministers in this House were heartbroken listening to Azeem Rafiq yesterday, but, as the Minister has said, it is deeds not words that will make a difference, and that goes for the Government as well. Will the Minister place in the Commons Library any and all correspondence that he has had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and can he tell the House what discussions he has had with it about its powers and resources and whether they are enough to deal with what we know, and have known for a long time, are chronic problems in sport?

The hon. Lady and I are at one in terms of the intent and what she said there about the abhorrence of what we have heard in cricket this week and, indeed, over a period of time. She is also absolutely right about issues in broader sport. I will happily place whatever documents are appropriate in the Library—I cannot promise to do so with every single document or discussion, because, as the hon. Lady knows, there are sometimes confidentiality and frank discussion concerns that inhibit our ability to put out every single piece of correspondence, but I will happily talk further with the hon. Lady, one to one, about this issue.