NEIL Hamilton, MS for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales, has welcomed news of a £17.7m survival fund for spectator sports in Wales.
Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, was commenting after the announcement by Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.
“I warmly welcome this news as it is vitally important we show support for all sports which continue to be badly affected by the pandemic. Many people are unable to participate personally in sports but derive great pleasure from watching others play.
“Measures to control the spread of the virus have led to the cancellation of spectator sports across Wales as venues were closed and activities and competitions cancelled.
“We do not know how long it will be before we can once again fill our stadiums with fans at football and rugby matches or at competition venues so I am delighted to see funding being made available to support this sector.”
The Spectator Sports Survival Fund will help the sector meet the ongoing challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been designed to provide immediate financial support for spectator sports through the remainder of the winter period to ensure that sports will be ready for the beginning of the new season in September.
Sport is important for the Welsh economy and for our mental and physical wellbeing and will play a vital role in our recovery and healing after the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic and following the introduction of nationwide measures to control the spread of the virus, spectator sports across Wales came to an abrupt halt as venues, activities, competitions and events were closed, cancelled or postponed.
This funding package reflects the outcome of an analysis and impact assessment of sports based on an assumption that spectators are unlikely to return in any significant numbers before the summer.
Among the sports to receive funding will be rugby, £13.5m, football, £1.5m and horse racing, £1.2m.
The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with Sport Wales and stakeholders to identify whether any additional loan funding is needed to support organisations through this ongoing crisis.