Higher costs may lead to sporting events shunning Britain after Brexit

RFU director tells House of Lords that a quarter of Twickenham matchday staff are non-UK EU workers

A quarter  of matchday staff at Twickenham are non-UK EU workers. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

A quarter of matchday staff at Twickenham are non-UK EU workers. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

 

Major sporting events including rugby and cricket World Cups are less likely to be held in post-Brexit Britain, executives have warned the House of Lords.

It is feared increased cost of visas for athletes and less availability of staff at stadiums could force up the price of holding sporting events in Britain. This may reduce the profit margin for international federations causing them to look elsewhere when assessing bids.

Angus Bujalski, the legal and governance director for the Rugby Football Union, said: “At Twickenham the number of non-UK EU workers is about 25 per cent of our matchday staff and I imagine that would be similar at Lord’s and Wembley.

“After Brexit, we envisage the wages of those able to be employed will go up because of the lack of availability. That will mean we’re not able to deliver the same returns to international federations, they will be harder to persuade.”

Bujalski was addressing an EU Home Affairs sub-committee examining the effect of Brexit on the movement of people in sport.

James Allen, the director of policy and governance at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, agreed that major events would be less likely to be held in Britain after Brexit.

“At the very least, the uncertainty ahead is really unhelpful in terms of trying to attract or retain major events,” he said.

“Potential increases in the cost to stage events will probably be passed on to the consumer and result in less money being invested in the grassroots. More generally, making the UK a harder place to visit for fans, athletes and support teams, plus a harder place to invest and to bring equipment in due to potential customs barriers makes us relatively less competitive.”

“The other possible consequence of increased costs here is a diminished ability to pay a healthy return to the event organiser or international federation which again makes us relatively less attractive compared to other countries.” – Guardian service

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