Around 10,000 people in the sports sector have already lost their job since the Covid-19 lockdown, but there are fears that up to 300,000 roles could go by the end of the year without government support.
Organisations including the Football Association, the England & Wales Cricket Board, Arsenal, Wasps, UK Athletics, the Rugby Football Union and McLaren have already announced redundancies and, with 6,000 jobs also going in public leisure, the physical activity sector is facing the urgent threat of economic devastation.
According to the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, around 150,000 roles across fitness, leisure and recreational sports are at risk once furlough ends but that will rise to between 250,000 and 300,000 by next year if there is not a dedicated package of support. That is based on losing 45 per cent of facilities and, while that forecast includes a relatively small percentage of volunteers, the vast majority would be paid jobs.
The public leisure sector, which includes community gyms and swimming pools, has already asked for £800,000 to keep it afloat until next March and a detailed outline of the need elsewhere is being calculated. The final ask, including compensation for lost gate receipts across the ‘big eight’ sports, could top £2 billion.