£20million package assembled to support British tennis amid coronavirus crisis

A package worth up to approximately £20million has been put together by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to support tennis players, coaches, officials and venues during the coronavirus crisis, but some LTA staff will be placed on furlough.

The funding will support those ‘most severely affected by the pandemic’ and will come in the form of grants and interest free loans.

There will be a new support grant for British singles players ranked outside the top-100 all the way down to world No. 750 who are not currently in receipt of LTA player funding.

Some LTA staff will, however, be furloughed with ‘the current rules around social distancing and venue closures make it increasingly difficult for the LTA to deliver normal levels of activity’, while chief executive Scott Lloyd and the executive team will take a 20% reduction in salary.

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Staff placed on furlough will have their salary topped up above the £2,500 per month on offer from the government to 80% of their base salary.

Lloyd said: ‘We know that many involved in tennis in Britain are concerned about their futures and are facing significant challenges, and so our primary objective in announcing these unprecedented measures is to ensure clubs and venues remain viable and coaches and officials are not lost to the sport.  

‘We hope that the combination of this new package and the continuation of our existing support will help ensure they are all able to operate post Covid-19.’

Tennis venues can benefit from a repayment holiday on LTA facility loans for six months, while interest free loans are available of up to £5,000 are available for coaches as part of a £1m hardship fund.

British tour events will also offer increased prize money, should they be able to resume later in the year.

In return for the support offered, the LTA will ask that time is committed to contribute back to the sport and their local communities.

The LTA can be grateful to Wimbledon – which was cancelled earlier this week – for their extensive insurance policy.

The All England Club’s risk and finance sub-committee had policies in place to guard against a pandemic, which will see the LTA still receive money from The Championships’ surplus, which usually comes to more than £40million a year.

That figure will likely be reduced this year, however, chief executive Richard Lewis warned earlier this week.

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