In a week that saw a local council plan to charge runners for a normally free parkrun event, the government is consulting on whether to allow companies to sponsor grassroots sports.
Originally announced in the Autumn Statement last year, the Treasury is now consulting on how to expand support that can be given to grassroots sports through the corporation tax system.
It could mean that provided a contribution is made towards a recognised expense, the corporate entity will be entitled to tax relief.
However the ICAEW Tax Faculty has flagged up a number of issues, including what defines a grassroots organisation; whether the donation should be made to the organisation directly or via a governing body; whether there should there be a definitive list of allowable expenses for which the donation is made (pitches, equipment or coaches); and what reporting requirements need to be established to ensure there is no personal gain by the donor.
Consultation feedback is due in by 25 May.
Earlier this week Bristol’s Little Stoke parkrun was cancelled after Stoke Gifford Parish Council voted to impose a charge at the free-to-all community event.
In a statement the chair of the parish council said: “Parkrun are an organised group and like any other group using the facilities should contribute towards the maintenance.
“…when it comes to an organisation with paid directors, fund raisers and sponsors it would be unfair to expect the resident’s to pay.”
The council has given parkrun until 28 May to apply for a community grant to cover its contributions towards park maintenance.
Parkrun cancelled the upcoming Little Stoke run on 16 April to ensure safety and reacted to the decision in a blog post: “Imposing a charge at one event is something that contradicts our founding principles and would set a precedent that threatens our future.
“As a nation we must make a decision about whether we want to be healthier or not. The costs to all of us of inactivity and poor health are immense. parkrun has had enormous success at bringing communities together and promoting physical activity in safe and welcoming social environments,” parkrun chief operating officer Tom Williams said.
A petition against the decision has since attracted more than 50,000 names and got the backing of the London Marathon.