Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for elite, professional and community sports - sustainability, governance, participation and media consumption, and emerging from COVID-19

Morning, Monday, 18th October 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is assessing the way forward for tackling key challenges for sport being faced across elite, professional and community levels, and the wider outlook for the sector.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the impact of COVID-19 - and additional support that might be required as the sector moves forward from the pandemic
  • governance - implications of the Government’s fan-led review of football, as well as issues for the sector safety, liability and duty of care
  • finances - including sponsorship and the long-term outlook for sports funding and sustainability across all levels of UK sport
  • media - innovation in commercial broadcasting, online distribution and revenues associated with it, looking at partnerships, regulation, and changing patterns of consumption
  • elite sport - learning from the delayed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and assessing the way forward for support and governance

The agenda:

  • The outlook for the sports sector - key challenges, and assessing what sector support might be required to recover from the COVID-19 crisis
  • The way forward for elite sport - finances, training and learning from the sector’s response to changing circumstances, priorities for governance, and key issues for risk mitigation going forward
  • The impact of COVID-19 on grassroots and community sport - regrowing participation post-pandemic, financial sustainability, liability for safety and duty of care
  • Taking forward the fan-led review of football and implications for grassroots and elite football in the UK
  • Innovation in commercial broadcasting, online distribution and sponsorship - partnerships, regulatory landscape, and adapting to changes in consumption
  • Key lessons from the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games - the long term outlook for elite sport funding, support, sustainability and governance

Key areas for discussion:

Grassroots and community sport - mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and moving forward:

  • support - assessing what has been offered for the sector, what more may be needed, and how it should be targeted to address the financial and wider impacts of lockdown measures
  • participation:
    • strategies for encouraging the public of all ages to re-engage with organised physical activity
    • opportunities for collaboration with local government, business, health services and other stakeholders
  • innovation - what can be learned for grassroots sport from how technology has been harnessed to encourage physical activity through the pandemic
  • safety and duty of care:
    • ensuring that participants and staff are protected, best practice in designing and implementing measures, and securing the support that will be needed going forward
    • insurance and liability - what is likely to be the legal position for sports clubs and bodies
  • financial sustainability - what further help will be needed for community and grassroots sport, with organised sport recommencing following national and local lockdowns

The Government’s fan led review into football:

  • the European Super League - the impact of the attempt to establish the ESL
  • implications for the sector - possible outcomes of the review, and what it might mean for the sector more broadly, as well as grassroots and elite football

Professional spectator sport:

  • reopening the sector:
    • how the reopening of venues and eventual return of fans will be handled, with a number of pilot projects taking place
    • developing clear guidelines on risk mitigation
    • implications for the financial sustainability of the sector
  • sports coverage - innovation and changing viewer habits:
    • assessing the impact of changes to the way fans are accessing sports coverage, and what it will mean for the post-pandemic market
    • how media outlets, both online and broadcast, are adapting to the impact of the pandemic to enable the continuation of some elite level sport, and keep fans engaged
  • market dynamics:
    • the impact of new entrants and new technology, and how partnerships are developing
    • implications of increased choice for consumers on football and other sports, and on established broadcast outlets going forward
    • how the easing of lockdown measures, both in the UK and internationally, will change the market
  • finances and regulation:
    • what changes to the market, consumer habits and the widening of available choices for accessing sports coverage mean for monetisation across the sport value chain
    • the impact of potential regulatory changes in areas such as sponsorship, with the UK government considering the future of gambling sponsorship in football as part of its review of the Gambling Act 2005

Preparing for the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games:

  • support for national governing bodies (NGBs) - assessing UK Sport and government assistance for NGBs ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
  • safety measures - what needs to be put in place to support the Olympics and Paralympics to take place, as well as the duty of care of NGBs
  • participation and competitiveness - what help and sector action will be needed, as well as how best to mitigate against the longer-term implications of the pandemic, including the talent pipeline and availability of safe operational facilities

Background to the discussion:

  • Work by government and Sport England to support grassroots and community sport, including:
    • Uniting the Movement - Sport England’s new 10-year strategy designed to support increased physical activity and remove barriers to participation
    • the National Leisure Recovery Fund - launched to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on publicly owned leisure facilities
    • New funding to help schools open their sports facilities - an investment of £10m aimed at enabling more children and young people to have access to sports and leisure facilities
    • the return of outdoor sport - outdoor sport activities have been allowed to recommence as part of the Government’s roadmap for easing the country out of lockdown
    • School and organised outdoor sport and physical activity to return - children and young people able to return to school sports, as well as the return of sports clubs outside of schools for both adults and children
    • Funding, innovation and flexibility - wider funding being made available to support sport bodies across England
    • MPs to investigate threat to community sport clubs - due to a fall in people volunteering at local sports clubs, MPs will come together to view evidence and discuss their viability post lockdown
    • the Sports Winter Survival Package - a £300m cash injection by the Government, which aimed to support major spectator sports through the winter
    • the return of indoor sport - with organised adult sport allowed to resume indoors from May 17th
  • Government announces terms of reference for fan-led review of football - which will be chaired by Tracey Crouch MP as a response to plans to form the European Super League
  • Events Research Programme - a new initiative from the DCMS to help with the reopening of major sport, music and theatre events through piloting a series of live sporting events to guide the government in the widespread reopening of these sectors
  • Sport in our communities - the ongoing DCMS Committee inquiry looking at:
    • the financial sustainability of grassroots and community sport
    • the impact of the pandemic on public health and people’s participation in sport
  • Major cultural and sporting events - the inquiry launched by the DCMS Committee to investigate the role of major cultural and sporting events in celebrating the UK’s national identity
  • UK Sport’s response to the pandemic and long-term funding plans, including:
    • the Continuity Fund - designed to support NGBs and mitigate the impact of COVID-19
    • increased investment in Olympic sports - recent plans for £352m funding for an increased number of sports in the build-up to the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, through to the Paris Games in 2024 and beyond, following the announcement of its funding strategy for beyond Tokyo
    • Sport Recovery Package - in the latest Budget, the Chancellor announced that an additional £300m will be made available as part of the Sports Recovery Package, which will support spectator sports through funding clubs and governing bodies
    • Women’s Euros - the Government will also provide £1.2m to mitigate the financial effects of COVID-19 on the UEFA Women’s Euro football tournament
  • tackling discrimination and abuse in football - Culture secretary and sports minister lead roundtable discussion on future of football aimed at getting players’ perspectives on the issues
  • child sexual abuse in football - the independent report commissioned by the FA has found that there were failings and delays in the Association’s response to the allegations
  • the future of gambling sponsorship in football - under consideration as part of the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005
  • women’s sport and broadcasting - Sky Sports and the BBC have reportedly agreed a three-year deal with the FA for coverage of the Women’s Super League

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from stakeholders from across the sports sector including governance bodies and their consultants, regional associations, sports clubs, schools and training centres, disability sports groups, funding bodies, local government, researchers from academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Ed Warner

Chair, GB Wheelchair Rugby and Author, Sport Inc

Adrian Christy

Chief Executive, Badminton England; and Director, Sport and Recreation Alliance


Gavin Newlands MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport

Karen Bradley MP

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Football


Victoria Aggar

Chair, British Athletes Commission

Tom Gibbins

Head of Education & Community, LTA

Councillor Peter Kelly

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure Services, Preston City Council

Heather Douglas

Head of Policy & Impact, UK Coaching

Anna Scott-Marshall

Director of Communications, British Paralympic Association

Jack Buckner

CEO, British Swimming

Robert Morini

Head of Governance and International Relations, UK Sport