For the first time in seven decades, a coalition has been formed between the Sports Journalists' Association, The Football Writers’ Association, The Cricket Writers’ Club, The Rugby Union Writers' Association, The Lawn Tennis Writers' Association, British Athletics Writers' Association, The Black Collective of Media in Sport, Sports Media LGBT and the Basketball Journalists’ Association.
We have joined forces to protect the thousands of freelancers in the UK who have been locked out of the industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The coalition has formed quickly following the mass cancellation of sporting events around the world, and welcomes all sports media organisations to join us.
Today we’ve called on the government to help our members whose industry has been entirely shut down. Specifically we have demanded that
1. Boris Johnson follows the lead of Germany and Canada and provides compensation or a base salary for freelance workers.
2. HMRC defers its date to collect payments on account, currently due on the 31st of July 2020, until December 2020 as a minimum, and to review this at a later stage.
3. The IR35 policy be abolished.
4. Our members who fall ill during this pandemic be included in statutory sick pay for the time of their illness.
5. The shortfall of support for the majority in the private rental sector be supported, by organising the deferment of rental payments until all supporters and workers are allowed back into fully open sporting stadia.
Separately, the Coalition has launched a webpage through the SJA, under the title “The Sports Freelancer Collective” pulling together information and advice relevant to the sports media. We are advising CWC members to check it regularly.
This is a truly difficult time for everybody and in particular for our self-employed freelance members who have had their work cancelled without pay in the wake of the measures to tackle coronavirus. People are obviously concerned about the season to come in the UK too. I’ll be communicating with the club internally, but to keep you as informed as possible, below is a useful site to follow, and a useful summary of the current position as regards UK Government support for the self-employed. Keep yourselves well, and I’ll be in touch.
As the Sports Freelancer Collective have highlighted, the self-employed income support scheme (SEIS) announced by the government provides little help for those who operate through Ltd Companies and have lost income. If you are the Director of Limited Company, IPSE Director of Policy Andy Chamberlain outlines below two options (a specific tax break or a grant based on trading profits) which they are proposing to put to government to try to ensure support. The SFC will keep you updated on developments.
In addition, the Sports Freelancer Collective has access to Employment lawyer Safwan Afridi of Radcliffes LeBrasseur, who is happy to field questions relating to furlough, whether you are self-employed or employed.
Please send in any questions you have to email@example.com who will collate all queries and send on to Safwan in anonymous form for replies. The replies will then be published as anonymous Q&As on the SFC website, as we find it is helping to members to read answers to questions surrounding all circumstances. It also prevents our pro bono experts being overloaded.
If you feel your situation is particularly sensitive however, and would prefer to contact Safwan individually, he is Safwan.Afridi@rlb-law.com Please state you are a member of the Sports Freelancer Collective.