THE Welsh Government has announced a £17.7 million funding package to help spectator sports impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

A vast majority of the funding has been allocated to rugby union with Welsh Government allocating £13.5 million.

In comparison football has been recognised with just £1.5 million and horse racing with £1.2 million.

Cricket has been allocated £1 million with the remainder of the support package shared between ice hockey, rugby league and netball.

The package has been designed to provide immediate financial support for spectator sports through the remainder of the winter period to ensure that sports will be ready for the beginning of the new season in September.

The funding will ensure the short-to-medium term survival of sports organisations and clubs who have been financially impacted by the restrictions on spectators at sporting events.

The revenue funding package will be allocated to the sports’ national governing bodies directly from the Welsh Government.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: "While restrictions on supporters at events have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, there can be no doubt that they have created real hardships for many sports clubs, many of whom receive a significant proportion of their income through spectator attendance.

“Sport is an important sector of our economy and has a positive impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.

"Sporting events provide important shared experiences, have often been a welcome distraction during the pandemic and will be a vital player in our recovery and healing after the crisis.

“I know this money will provide some stability to those sports worst affected by the loss of revenue during the pandemic, helping to bridge the financial gap until spectators are able to return safely.”

Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “We're committed to providing a responsible and targeted approach to addressing the financial impact of the pandemic.

"The package of support we have announced today takes the total funding for this sector to more than £40m since the start of the crisis, helping to provide longer-term stability for a sector that has suffered significant financial loss.

“As we look ahead to brighter days, sport and physical activity will be vital players in our recovery, helping to develop a healthier and more resilient Wales.”

In April 2020 the Welsh Government and Sport Wales launched an £8m Sport Resilience Fund.

This was used to support sports clubs and partner networks which play such a vital role in ensuring the nation is able to remain active and enjoy all the health and wellbeing benefits that sport brings.

In September the Welsh Government announced a £14m funding package for the Sport and Leisure sector to provide essential support to sports clubs and organisations, independent providers and sporting events which have all faced significant challenges during the crisis and continue to be severely impacted.