British Basketball League clubs, and those in the Women’s BBL, are in line to get a £3 million bailout.

Basketball England will receive an additional £1 million as part of a £300m Sports Winter Survival Package for 11 sports, primarily in England, announced on Thursday.

Bodies will still need to apply and justify need to receive monies. A statement said: “The funding, which will be largely composed of loans, is the most generous of any Government for its domestic sport sector in the world, and will focus on sports severely impacted over the winter.”

“Our league was hit very hard last season by the Covid-19 pandemic, causing us to have to curtail the season, to the great disappointment of our clubs, players and fans,” BBL chair Sir Rodney Walker said.

“DCMS did give us the confidence to start the 2020/21 season a few weeks ago, with a commitment of support, and we are particularly pleased with the level now confirmed.

“Our clubs have worked extremely hard to mitigate the impact of loss of spectators at our events, and sadly that has included job losses.

“With no certainty of when spectators can return, the announcement today ensures we can now go forward with some confidence, and continue our competitions and our planning for when we can welcome fans back to games.

“It will also be very important to ensuring the clubs’ vital community engagement programmes will be able to continue with confidence, giving the stability this provides overall to the clubs, their Foundations, and the sport in general.”

It remains unclear how much cash will be grant and how much will be a repayable loan with the BBL, which has higher losses, to receive most of the share of any investment. However it is understood some clubs believe a loan would be a non-viable option despite a £7 million cash injection from US-based 777 Partners which is currently under consideration.

Nigel Huddleston, England’s Sports Minister, said: “Over the past few weeks we have worked tirelessly with sport governing bodies and clubs across the country to fully assess what support is needed, as a result of the decision to postpone the return of fans.

“We know the vast majority of sports – many of which operate on tight financial margins – have been making serious cost reductions, such as locking down grounds, taking up the furlough scheme for many staff and halting excess payments.

“Whilst the Government’s overall economic package has provided a significant buffer, it is absolutely right that we now intervene to protect entire sports, and the communities they support, as we navigate this pandemic.”

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