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More details given on the Sport Winter Survival Package

We're administering the £300 million fund that's aimed at helping sports, clubs and leagues affected by restrictions placed on spectator attendance over the winter.

15th February 2021

In order to answer some of the most common questions we’ve received about the Sport Winter Survival Package (SWSP), we’ve put together a summary of the fund, its progress to date and a frequently asked questions section.

The SWSP was announced in November to protect the immediate future of major spectator sports in England directly affected by coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions on spectators attending fixtures and events between October 2020 and March 2021.

Autumn Nations Cup final in an empty Twickenham

About the fund

The SWSP provides a total of around £300 million in survival funding and is designed to support organisations - such as professional sports clubs - in urgent financial need as a result of a loss of spectators.

This funding package is predominantly made up of loans, with grants only being considered by exception.

The SWSP is not focused on community sports organisations, but we've been supporting grassroots sport since the pandemic began with grant funding available throughout.

Independent decision-making board

The Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden, has appointed a new, independent board who are overseeing the funding process and making all investment decisions related to the package.

The board members are:

  • Sir Ian Cheshire (Chair), chairman of Barclays Bank UK PLC
  • Lord Patel of Bradford, chairman of Social Work England and senior board director at the England and Wales Cricket Board
  • Nick Timothy, non-executive board member of the Department for Education, and member of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee
  • Denise Lewis, sports presenter and Olympic heptathlon gold medallist
  • Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England
  • Natalie Ceeney, Vice-Chair of Sport England and chair of Innovate Finance
  • Sally Munday, chief executive of UK Sport
  • Ben Dean, director of sport, gambling and ceremonials at DCMS.

We, Sport England, are administering the SWSP on behalf of the government but aren't responsible for making decisions on how funding is allocated.

Progress to date

Certain sports and organisations were engaged prior to the government's announcement in order to determine an initial assessment of the level of support that might be required across the sector.

However, any sport that believes they face an existential threat, as a result of the restrictions on spectators, are welcome to enquire about the scheme.

The independent board have met several times since the package was announced in November and they've taken decisions to support a range of sports, including up to £10m announced in January to support football's National League system Steps 3-6.

Further announcements of confirmed funding allocations will be made in due course.

We continue to work with eligible sports to support their progress through the application process, with further meetings of the independent board scheduled throughout February and March to ensure delivery of this urgent package.

How the fund works

Provisional assessments of need were made based upon the preliminary financial information provided by impacted sports organisations. However, these numbers were only indicative and each sport needs to go through a formal application process to access support through the scheme.

Eligible sports have been invited to submit their applications between December 2020 and March 2021, with the schedule of invitations to application staggered, primarily based upon an assessment of an organisation's urgency of need.

The schedule of when organisations are invited to apply to the scheme won't affect the level of funding they'll be able to apply for, or the nature of the support they receive.

Applications are considered by the independent board.

To find out more information about how the programme will operate, please review the programme guide.

Frequently asked questions

  • How was the independent board selected?

    The board was appointed by the Secretary of State for DCMS, and includes representation from organisations including Sport England, UK Sport and DCMS, as well as four independent members selected for their skills, expertise and enthusiasm for the sport sector.

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  • How is it determined if an organisation should receive loan or grant funding?

    All organisations applying to the programme are assessed on a case by case basis - therefore, the funding offer will be specific to the applicant.

    An application assessment will determine the financial product offered.

    This includes considering structural eligibility, financial need and resilience, as well as a prioritisation and balancing criteria.

    In most cases the SWSP will offer loan funding - grant funding is offered by exception.

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  • What support is there for clubs and organisations outside of England who are part of English competition structures and reliant on spectator income?

    Organisations based outside of England, but operating within English competition structures, are eligible for funding from their respective home country government. Funding for the SWSP is devolved.

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  • Why is there such a variation in the provisional allocation of funding earmarked for each eligible sport?

    Each sport, like different businesses across the country, has a different business model.

    All sports were subject to a consistent knowledge-gathering exercise which underpinned the allocation.

    The allocations reflect the impact of coronavirus on the eligible organisations and the amounts they need to survive - they're not measures of a sport's relative importance.

    All organisations invited to the scheme will be assessed for strategic need, meaning the funding allocation across sports may vary.

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  • Are women's teams affiliated to men's teams with significant financial reserves still eligible for support?

    All organisations invited to apply will be subject to a consistent assessment and decision-making process. This includes understanding information about the applying organisation, as well as their financial situation.

    All organisations applying to the SWSP will need to demonstrate financial need.

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  • Are there plans for a summer equivalent of the SWSP?

    The original parameters of the SWSP were based on the removal of spectator restrictions from 1 April 2021.

    We understand that the government is constantly responding to the impact of coronavirus and will continue to make decisions in the best interests of the country.

    The SWSP independent board is working with DCMS and us to understand the impact of any further delays to spectator admission - continuing the dialogue with affected sports over the coming weeks.


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  • What are the terms for an SWSP loan?

    The SWSP operates a standard repayable loan facility on a 10-year term with a two-year holiday and repayments over eight years at an interest rate of 2%.

    The programme can offer terms up to 20 years, including a four-year repayment holiday, as required.

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  • Will the SWSP support sports that mothball, or do they have to be competing?

    The SWSP will provide funding to eligible organisations that need support to survive. The package will adapt to the differing circumstances across sport, funding organisations that choose to mothball or those that are able to compete.

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