As the Government outlined its ‘winter survival package’ for UK sport, amateur boxing and small hall boxing were left in the dark, as the sport continues to fight for its survival following COVID-19.
In total, £300m was delegated out by the DCMS, however, boxing was neglected completely, as a lack of clarity remains on when small hall shows or amateur shows will be able to resume following the November lockdown and an extended hiatus due to government restrictions.
Topping the list of sports that received bailouts were Rugby Union, which received £135 million and horse racing, which landed £40 million, elsewhere Ice Hockey and Netball both received £4 million, as boxing fans reacted with bewilderment.
Dave Jennings, who runs an amateur gym in the North West, reacted on Twitter emphasising that clubs are a ‘community hub for all’ and that ‘funding is vital’ for clubs.
Former undefeated pro, Nathan Decastro also expressed anger at the decision, stating: “Why has there been no financial backing provided for am and pro boxing from The UK Government! Absolutely disgusting, boxing has been forgotten about, this abysmal decision is a mistake! Gang crime will rise as this Is the final nail in the coffin for boxing.”
The calls of Decastro and Jennings have been echoed by many in the sport. Anyone that has played a role in amateur boxing will understand the role they play in communities, especially the in the working-class areas that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, commented on the bailout, stating: “These are unprecedented times for our sector, and those sports and leagues that rely so heavily on spectators for their income that have been especially impacted by the pandemic. The role they play in their local communities is vital and this package of support from Government will be hugely welcomed.
“Alongside our wider support for grassroots and community sport, Sport England is working very closely with Government colleagues on the design of this fund and we look forward to playing a key role in its successful and swift delivery.”
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also failed to mention the sport of boxing, as he said: “Sports clubs are the beating hearts of their communities, and this £300 million boost will help them survive this difficult winter period.
“We promised to stand by sports when we had to postpone fans returning. We are doing just that by delivering another £300 million on top of existing business support schemes.
“Britain is a sports powerhouse, and this Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through covid.”
The government’s decision to neglect the sport in terms of the winter bailout is a scandalous decision and will undoubtedly have a far-reaching impact on the sport at a grassroots level and subsequently affect communities up and down the country.