Details on how grants for UK cultural organisations will be allocated have been outlined, while the World Snooker Championship’s status as a pilot event with fans in attendance has been criticised by a player…

Cultural grants

The UK government has announced details on how cultural organisations can apply for £880m (€971.5m/$1.14bn) in grants from next week as part of its £1.57bn cultural recovery package.

During this first round of funding, £622m will be distributed, with Arts Council England to oversee £500m to support institutions across the arts and cultural sector including theatres, music and comedy venues and museums. This allocation includes £2.25m in targeted immediate, emergency support for grassroots music venues, which was announced last week.

The £1.57bn package was announced earlier this month and will be used to help support the performing arts and theatres, museums, heritage, galleries, independent cinemas and live music venues through the impact of COVID-19.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Help is on the way to our much loved cultural and heritage organisations with our £1.57 billion fund. This support package will protect buildings, organisations and people to help ensure our wonderful institutions, big and small, pull through COVID.

“Today we’re publishing guidance so organisations know how to access help. We’re also calling on organisations to be creative in diversifying their income streams and the public to continue supporting the places they love so this funding can be spread as far and wide as possible”.

The British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have published guidance today (Wednesday) on how they will judge and distribute applications.

The second round of funding later in the financial year will see £258m reserved to meet the developing needs of organisations.

A new independent Culture Recovery Board will be chaired by Sir Damon Buffini to help administer the programme, advising on the largest grant as well as deciding the beneficiaries of the £270m repayable finance element of the package.

World Snooker Championship

English professional snooker player Anthony Hamilton has expressed his fears about playing in front of fans at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre at the World Snooker Championship this year.

Hamilton criticised the decision to allow a limited audience into the 980-capacity venue, labelling the move as “ridiculous.” The Championship is the only indoor event among three pilots designed to pave the way for fans to return to sports and entertainment events amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Hamilton, who has asthma, said, according to the Guardian newspaper: “Let’s say one person gets ill and dies from the Crucible – it’s one person who died for no reason at all, just for entertainment. I think it’s ridiculous.”

The pilots are designed to build up to and prepare for the full, socially distanced return of sporting events from October 1. Sports venues in the UK have been closed to spectators since lockdown measures were implemented on March 23.

Hamilton continued: “To go into a room with 300 people is against the grain for me. I’m not going to be comfortable in there personally. I don’t know why anyone is going to be comfortable. Three hundred people for 17 days I think is an absolute risk. For entertainment purposes, it’s well out of proportion. I don’t think it’s a good risk at all.”

Earlier this week, fans attended a UK sporting event for the first time since March as 1,000 people watched the friendly cricket match between Surrey and Middlesex at the Kia Oval. The Goodwood horse-racing festival also welcomed a limited number of spectators to its event which kicked off yesterday (Tuesday) and runs through to August 1.

K League

South Korean football’s K League kicked off ticket sales today with matches set to welcome fans for the first time since February on Saturday.

The Korean government said last Friday that clubs could reopen their stadium gates following a season that began without supporters in the stands.

The Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO) became the first league to bring fans back last Saturday, with both baseball and football teams to only allow fans to occupy 10 per cent of their stadium capacity.

Tickets are sold online as box offices will remain closed and passes will be scanned using a QR code system. Tickets are currently available for home team fans only.

Image: DenP Images / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Edited for size