Government grant gives WSL ‘best possible opportunity’ to finish the season

Jonathan Veal, PA

Women’s football, netball, basketball and badminton will receive more than £10million in funding as part of the Government’s Sport Winter Survival Package.

The Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship will get a £2.25million grant which will be used to support essential costs of running the leagues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Individual clubs are also being reviewed with the possibility of being handed separate financial aid from the government in the coming weeks.

The Women's Super League will receive a grant
The Women’s Super League will receive a grant (John Walton/PA)

Football Association director of the women’s professional game Kelly Simmons said: “This grant will help provide vital financial support to give the best possible opportunity to complete both the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, and FA Women’s Championship campaigns,”

“Starting during pre-season last summer, we have carried out COVID-19 testing for players and staff every week in the top two divisions to ensure they can take to the field safely.

“With this grant from the Sport Winter Survival Package, we will be able to continue to do this right through to the end of the 2020-2021 season.”

England Netball and the Vitality Super League will receive a £4.2million grant, which has allowed the 2021 season to already start, in a targeted boost to women’s sport.

As part of the second tranche of the Government’s £300million Sport Winter Survival Package, of which around £250million is in the form of low-interest loans, basketball and badminton will also receive financial help.

British Basketball League clubs, including the women’s league, will receive £2.5million in grants and loans and Basketball England will get a £200,000 grant.

Badminton England will also receive a grant worth £1.3million to ensure the organisation can survive during the pandemic.

YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships – Day Four – Arena Birmingham
Badminton has been given a cash boost (Morgan Harlow/PA)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We are committed to helping our treasured sports through these challenging times. And today’s announcement is more evidence of our support for them.

“In particular, Women’s sport has faced acute pressures. The past few years have seen fantastic progress – with greater participation, employment, commercial opportunities and visibility in the media. I am determined not to let it take a back seat again.

“This targeted funding will enable sports to keep playing and inspire many more stars of the future.”

As well as the grants, elite women’s sport will receive 250,000 free Covid-19 testing kits which will allow leagues to be played safely.

The England and Wales Cricket Board and Rugby Football League women’s competitions are in discussions with the government regarding the distribution of testing ahead of the proposed starts of their respective summer leagues.

Dowden added: “We promised to support our national sporting life when we had to postpone the return of fans. Once again, we are doing just that.

“These free testing kits will help ensure the health and safety of elite athletes in competition remains paramount and mean resources can be focused on protecting the future of sports as we recover from the pandemic.”

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