Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed plans for fans to return to watch live sport events in England from 1 October will not go ahead.
Clubs such as Port Vale were hopeful that the plans would go ahead as it could herald the return of supporters to stadiums but the heightened risks of coronavirus have put an end to the plans.
“We will not be able to do this from October 1 and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities,” the Prime Minister said. “The chancellor and the culture secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.”
Port Vale chair Carol Shanahan told the Sentinel newspaper: “It is very tricky for every football club. You have a very expensive business which has an income stream that has gone, it has just stopped.”
However, there is a chink of light on the horizon for the Valiants. The Guardian is reporting that football is expected to be offered financial support by the government.
The newspaper reports:
Football, cricket, rugby union and racing are among those expected to be offered help following a meeting with the culture secretary Oliver Dowden this afternoon. However Dowden also made it clear to financially stable sporting bodies, such as the Premier League, they must also do their bit by also helping teams lower down the pyramid.
On Monday the Sport and Leisure Centre Alliance have asked for a £1.57bn bailout for sport at all levels – to match the funding given to the arts in July. However the Guardian understands that the government is instead considering two separate packages for elite and grassroots sport which will be considerably smaller.
The exact size of the bailout for elite sport is still being discussed inside Whitehall, but grants, loans and rate relief are all options on the table.