COVID-19: FSPA is lobbying on behalf of the sports industry

The Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA) the umbrella body which supports the SPE, is surveying its members in the sporting goods and golf sectors to let them know what issues they would like them to lobby government on during the Covid-19 crisis.

“I would like to thank all our members for their responses to our survey,” says Jane Montgomery, the FSPA’s Head of General Affairs. “The situation is a developing one and some of the issues raised, such as staff retention, have now been addressed by government.

“However, two outstanding areas of concern were raised by several members and, as yet, have not been specifically dealt with by the government.”

Business Rates Holidays for Manufacturers and Distributors

“Business rates holidays have been introduced for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year,” says Jane. “However, despite many of our manufacturers and distributors being severely affected by the impact on the leisure industry in particular, so far no such relief has been provided to them.

“We are lobbying government for the same 12-month payment holiday to be extended to manufacturers and distributors. We will feed back news of progress to you as soon as we have it.

“In the meantime, if you have a direct retail division within your company contact your Local Authority to enquire if the 12-month payment holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses includes your Company.

Deferred Customs Duties and Import VAT

“Many of our members import and/or export goods and say that they would like a deferred payment period for Customs Duties and Import VAT in line with the current VAT deferral scheme provided by the government,” continues Jane.

“We are lobbying government for a deferral scheme for Customs Duties and Import VAT like the UK VAT deferral scheme already in place and again, we will feed back news of progress to you as soon as possible.”

For further support, information or to raise any issues of concern, please contact Jane Montgomery –

Mental Health and the importance of PE, Sport and Physical Activity in schools

Growing and powerful evidence of the positive link between physical activity and improved mental health is building awareness of the need to provide children and young people with ample opportunities for sport and exercise. The importance of providing a broad curriculum in schools which includes sport, outdoor play and physical activity is clear.

A rich and exciting physical education is essential for children and teenagers, not only for those most vulnerable to suffering from mental health problems, but for all young people.
Through PE, children express themselves physically, challenge themselves and others, cooperate, compete and take risks. Physical Education helps to develop resilience, empathy, confidence and social skills – all vital for good mental health.

Activity also releases energy, enabling young people to ‘let off steam’ which helps to lower anxiety levels. The sense of the achievement that is often experienced by students can also make a significant contribution to positive mental health. Sport and physical activity affect the chemistry of the brain, improving mood both in the short and longer term. A positive PE experience at school can have a lasting impact on the mental health of young people for the rest of their lives.

However, evidence from the Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) shows that at secondary school level, physical education is being squeezed out of the curriculum and increasingly, sport is not at the heart of secondary school life.

Primary and Secondary PE Provision

A recent survey* commissioned by SPE suggests that, while primary schools’ PE provision has been relatively well-funded thanks to the soft drinks levy or ‘sugar tax’, the same level of funding has not been available to secondary schools.

A number of Heads of Department in secondary schools responded to the survey; the sentiments expressed here were echoed by many others and suggest that secondary schools’ PE provision is in crisis:

“PE is becoming less of a priority and something that I feel is impacting upon young people’s mental health, especially as the pressure of GCSE and examination subjects increases. As a school we do well with what we have. but a significant shift in the last five years is having an detrimental effect on student health and fitness especially at KS4. I feel education in general is being stretched and that staff goodwill is more and more relied upon to fill the gaps that are being left. This is unsustainable and will force staff to push back against the constant increased demand placed upon them.”

“PE is being squeezed and with really poor facilities we are struggling to make the subject appealing to young people. We face a crisis in terms of involvement for the ‘mobile phone generation’.”

“PE has declined in importance in terms of fitness and is not a whole school priority anymore.”

*Based on survey responses from 161 primary and 154 secondary schools, Oct 2019

A strong push for secondary PE funding

The Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) has engaged with the Sports and Recreation Alliance (SRA) and The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) to promote funding for PE in secondary schools.

A General Election Sport & Physical Activity Hustings, organised by the SRA and UK active, was held on the 3rd December 2019 with representatives from each of the three main parties attending. The SPE who also attended, shared their manifesto to restore PE in secondary schools with those at the event. The manifesto calls upon the government to extend the ‘sugar tax’ to include secondary schools, empower secondary school staff to be able to prioritise PE in their time tables and that a renewed emphasis on secondary PE is created and maintained. The full Manifesto can be viewed here.

All three speakers outlined the elements of their parties’ manifestos which related to sport and activity – it was highlighted that all were rather light on this issue. The speakers were questioned about the importance of school sports and PE as well as the lack of funding. Tom Watson, Labour, was in favour of a gambling levy and mentioned an investment into school training, ensuring schools have trained PE teachers / coaches to tackle inactivity issues. Lord Addington, Lib Dems, reiterated the urgent need for investment and that they want to relook at initiatives like schools’ sports partnerships, to encourage and train teachers and children for long term engagement. And Nick King, Conservatives, highlighted that the school sports premium has delivered results, that they must continue to develop and that they will continue to push for the target of one hour a day.

When questioned if their party would commit to the School Sports Premium after 2020, none were able to provide a figure or dates, but all committed to supporting the plan fully or partially.

Alongside attending the event, The SPE launched their manifesto to coincide with a highly successful social media campaign led by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and CYPMHC. The campaign, #ChildrenAtTheHeart, called on election candidates to put children at the front of their investment queue and was supported by large organisations such as Young Minds UK and Action for Children. The launch of the Manifesto was seen by over 500 people across Twitter and LinkedIn.

The partnerships with the SRA and CYPMHC have been very successful for the SPE and helps ensure PE is pushed up the political agenda going forward.

A manifesto to restore PE in secondary schools

The Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) is launching its new election manifesto calling on the next government to make good the inequality in primary and secondary PE funding and provision.

SPE Chair Beth Tarry, says: “The general election on 12 December represents a chance to demand that the next government elevates the status of PE in secondary schools so that every young person in the UK has access to excellent sport and physical activity provision.”

The SPE are asking the next government to:

  1. Extend the ringfenced ‘sugar tax’ funding for sport in schools to include secondary schools as well as primary to ensure that all children aged 11-18 have access to the appropriate level of quality physical education
  2. Raise the profile of PE in secondary schools such that it is as valued a discipline as any other school subject and ensuring adequate resources are in place to do so
  3. Implement the necessary processes to empower and enable secondary school staff to once again prioritise physical education in their timetables
  4. Ensure that this renewed emphasis on secondary PE is sustained by implementing regular audits on the national state of physical education in secondary schools

“Childhood inactivity is one of the chief causes of spiralling childhood obesity and poor mental health among teenagers,” says Beth. “We are witnessing a national crisis; the time teenagers spend playing sport and exercising at school is shrinking. The result is an entire generation of young people who are being denied the essential benefits to their wellbeing of sport, physical activity and exercise.”

Read the full manifesto here.

Please share this manifesto on your social media channels using #Election2019 and #ChildrenAtTheHeart. You can also download and print a copy to give to election candidates in your area.

Flicx: 2G Flicx Pitches are supporting Cricket Australia’s new Junior Formats

Flicx have just supplied a container of 2G Flicx Pitches to clubs in Australia as part of their innovative plans to grow the junior game. Pilot projects of the new junior formats have seen hugely positive results with shorter pitches meaning more good games, more runs and wickets and more FUN!

As part of the pilot in 2018, Cricket Australia (CA) engaged Flicx UK to assist in providing an alternative playing surface whilst allowing multiple games to be played at a single venue. With the growth of junior cricket, more and more clubs and associations are looking at an alternative to the traditional centre wicket. Temporary pitch solutions ease the pressure on junior competition managers and associations by allowing multiple games to be played at a single venue. The new partnership with Cricket Australia sees an approved product, the 2G Flicx Junior Multi-Age Pitch, promoted to clubs and councils on an opt-in basis with a subsidised price. The improved 2G technology from Flicx provides a consistent bounce and offers turn to spinners when rolled out on a firm, flat area. Batsmen can play their shots in confidence and its quick and easy for club volunteers to roll out the pitch ahead of matches and training. The star quality of the 2G Flicx Pitch, however, is its versatility so clubs, councils and schools have the option of using the same product in the nets, indoors or even for beach cricket!

With green spaces at a premium and multi-use sports areas being stretched – the 2G Flicx Pitch is a real problem solver as it’s a temporary solution which requires minimal ground preparation and maintenance and is very durable making it a great investment. The pitch selected by Cricket Australia will enable clubs to host stage 1 (U11s) and stage 2 (U13s) games just by moving the stumps.

“The ever-growing junior cricket landscape demands more facilities and facility optimisation, with the 2G MAP Flicx Pitch; this allows more games to be played, more often with a strong alignment to the Australian Cricket Formats” commented James Liggins, Junior Pathway Support Officer at CA. Clubs from Perth to the far north of Queensland as well as the busy urban city areas of Melbourne and Sydney are the first to benefit this year – with pilot project results on the 2G Flicx Pitch being very encouraging from a usability and performance perspective.

For more information on this partnership visit:

SPE Member Profile: Sport, Play and Climbing the Walls

We recently had the pleasure of talking to Tom Bunner, Managing Director of Eveque, the educational sports equipment manufacturer and program developer. They’ve been a bright light in educational sports equipment and services since 1980. Synonymous with high-quality mat manufacture, school sports development and, more recently, climbing wall matting. Tom was kind enough to answer some questions and give us a small insight into the world of Eveque.

Read the full interview here: Tom Bunner Interview

Tom Bunner, Managing Director of Eveque
Tom Bunner, Managing Director of Eveque

The EU Commission has recently published 17 standards in the Official Journal of the European Union

These standards now provide a presumption of conformity with the general safety requirement set out in Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety. The following sporting goods products are affected: gymnastic equipment, bicycles, stationary training equipment and floating leisure articles for use on and in the water.

The General Product Safety Directive imposes general safety requirements for any product put on the market for consumers or for any product that is likely to be used by them.

A product is considered to be safe once it conforms to the safety provisions in European legislation, or, in the absence of such rules, if it complies with the specific national regulations of the member state where it is being marketed or sold. The product is also considered to be safe if it complies with the European standard established according to the procedures in this GPSD, but a risk assessment report is required.

Thus, if you are manufacturing products covered by the new harmonized standards, you can use these standards to demonstrate that your products comply with the safety requirements of the GPSD. Since those standards are quite recent, it should be enough, but the Commission nonetheless recommends checking if there are additional rules at national level covering the products.

Please also note that the use of harmonized standards is not mandatory. Manufacturers can demonstrate that their products meet the safety requirements of the Directive in other ways. However, harmonized standards provide a presumption of conformity (with the safety requirements they are covering). Hence, if your product respects the relevant standard it should automatically be considered as meeting the safety requirements of the GPSD.

More details: 

Please find attached/or website the Commission’s implementing decision granting 17 standards presumption of conformity with the general safety requirement of the General Product Safety Directive. Please find below the list of standards published which should be of interest to the sporting goods industry:

  • EN 913:2018 Gymnastic equipment — General safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 4210-2-2015 Cycles — Safety requirements for bicycles — Requirements for city and trekking, young adult, mountain and racing bicycles
  • EN ISO 4210-6-2015 Cycles — Safety requirements for bicycles — Frame and fork test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-4:2016 Stationary training equipment: Strength training benches, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-5:2016 Stationary training equipment: Stationary exercise bicycles and upper body crank training equipment, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-8:2017 Stationary training equipment: Steppers, stair climbers and climbers — Additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-9:2017 Stationary training equipment: Elliptical trainers, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-10:2017 Stationary training equipment: Exercise bicycles with a fixed wheel or without freewheel — Additional specific safety requirements and test method
  • EN ISO 25649:2017 Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water

If you need further information, please contact Jane Montgomery – Email:

Harrod Sports: Rugby World Cup 2019 Suppliers

2019 is set to be an incredible year for international rugby, with eyes already looking towards the World Cup in September. With previously supplying and delivering the Rugby Posts to the last two tournaments, New Zealand and England, Harrod Sport were hopeful of repeating this at the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup.

In March 2016, Japanese distributor Kofu visited the UK to sign a deal as the first, and exclusive Harrod Sport distributor for Japan. Following on from this, Kofu received the contract to install Harrod Sport’s 17m Millennium Rugby Posts in all 12 host stadia for the Rugby World Cup.

In February 2017, Harrod Sport’s Sales Manager John Robinson visited Japan to oversee the installation and erection of the first set of posts at The Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi. He was given the great honour of taking to the full-sized pitch and kicking the first goal through the new posts (even if it was in his socks). John Robinson and Kevin Utton returned to Japan in 2018 to visit Osaka for a Turf Summit. They were asked to present to the Rugby World Cup organising committee and all the grounds managers of the 12 host stadiums. Whilst visiting, they were also introduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic competition mangers to discuss Harrod Sport’s future involvement in Japan in 2020.

Harrod Sport are immensely proud of their fantastic relationship with Kofu which has grown from strength to strength throughout the past 3 years. They are honoured to be able to say they will be the exclusive supplier of Rugby Posts to the 2019 World Cup and look forward to an exciting future for Harrod Sport in Japan. Where performance and quality is essential, Harrod Sport continue to be the No.1 choice worldwide.

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A national trade body representing play, sports and golf associations, the FSPA serves over 500 manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of sports and play equipment, clothing and apparel.