Professional and Amateur Sport: Government Support

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 30th September 2020.

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Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport) 12:45 pm, 30th September 2020

It is great to hear from Tracey Crouch. We very much wish her well.

I have often spoken in this place about the power of sport. The truth is that many of our amateur and semi-professional sports clubs—be they football, rugby, shinty or anything else—play a crucial and binding role in their local community, but given the current situation, many of them are under threat. Many clubs, such as Renfrew football club in my constituency, rely heavily on match-day income to survive—particularly in Scotland when it comes to football, where significantly more people attend matches per capita than anywhere else in Europe.

In recent days, the highland league in Scotland joined the national league in announcing a postponement to the start of its season. I welcome the Minister’s comments regarding the national league. What steps is he taking to ensure that all English sport and sports clubs operating outwith the very top tiers are given the support they need to weather the covid storm, which would generate Barnett consequentials to enable the Scottish Government to do likewise? Given that sport is devolved, will he commit to further engagement with the Scottish Minister for Sport, Joe FitzPatrick, on this very important issue?