Lawn Tennis Association secures £14.3m funding
The Sports Minister has confirmed that the governing bodies for tennis and athletics have been awarded funding to support the delivery of their calendars of summer events, whilst the phased return of spectators continues under the roadmap out of lockdown.
As part of the Government’s Sport Survival Package, a loan of £14.3m has been made available to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which meant that they could make a commitment at the beginning of the year to ensure that the grass court season could go ahead.
The backing of the loan support allowed the LTA to host two events in Nottingham, and further events in Birmingham, Eastbourne and the Queen’s Club, in the lead up to The Championships at Wimbledon.
All of these events had significantly reduced gate receipts and double the usual net costs due to restricted spectator capacities and COVID-19. The tournaments at Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne were all elite women’s events and helped to ensure that British and international players could prepare for The Championships whilst remaining in COVID safe environments.
Meanwhile UK Athletics has been offered £1.2m in loans which has supported the delivery of the British Athletics Championships, the Olympic trial event, which took place in Manchester between 25-27 June, and therefore provided the platform to help a number of athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The funding will also help the Diamond League British Grand Prix, the final major warm-up event on home soil, to take place at Gateshead International Stadium on 13 July.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “There was a genuine risk that our tennis and athletics talent would not have had the opportunity to properly prepare and compete ahead of major events, like the Olympics. This funding has meant that tennis and athletics events could plan with confidence, supporting our sport stars and making sure that the Great British summer of sport goes on.”
Scott Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, said: “We’d like to thank the Government and Sport England for their help over the past seven months. Knowing the loan support is available has allowed us to plan with a degree of certainty and commit to expenditure when faced with only being able to admit 25% of spectators to stage our early summer events safely and our investment levels being double the normal cost. Whilst we have reduced costs internally to manage through this period more generally, we can now plan ahead to 2022 and look to capitalise on increases in participation by supporting indoor community and public venues as they help recover from the aftermath of the pandemic.”