Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 27/08/20

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As our great country continues to adapt to a life with the presence of Coronavirus, its important to find a way in which sports can safely operate.

I have been lobbying hard for sports teams within Solihull. Not only does regular participation in sport prevent unhealthy weight gain and assist with weight loss, it also has mental health benefits by creating opportunities for socialising.

That’s why I want to see a safe return of sporting activities across Solihull as soon as possible, and for the benefit of those who take part.

As well as lobbying hard for grassroots sports, I joined with colleagues from across the country to support non-league football teams by getting fans safely back into the stands.

I welcome that the Government has responded by allowing fans to return to most Non-League Clubs last weekend. However, there are still 67 Non-League Clubs in the National League and National League North and South. One of these is our very own Solihull Moors.

These clubs and players do not enjoy the same revenue streams as elite league football and will inevitably struggle financially from a continuing ban on fans in the ground.

We called on the Government to urgently announce plans for the return of fans to Step 1 and 2 Clubs. This would be a huge relief to those trying to balance the finances of these clubs, whose future remains perilous but importance in our local communities should never be underestimated.

Last month our region lead the way in pilots for the safe return of fans to sport, following a national trial at the Edgbaston Cricket Stadium. This pilot is the second elite sporting event in the country to accommodate spectators since the COVID outbreak.

Sport is such an important part of our nation’s way of life and I welcome the beginning of a return to spectators at sports events. As a keen fan myself, I for one can’t wait to get back to the stadiums of many of the excellent clubs – across all types of sports – that call the West Midlands home.