THE Government is expected to announce which sports will benefit from a reported £300 million coronavirus rescue package later today.

Spectator sports, including rugby league, have been devastated by having to shut out fans - losing ticket and related matchday income.

Elite football - the Premier League and English Football League - is set to miss out, but both rugby codes and horse racing are among those expected to receive financial assistance.

Rugby league has already been handed a £16m loan - but it is not clear yet how much of that money has been drawn upon.

The sport is likely to receive more, particularly with the 2021 World Cup on the horizon, in the form of grants or a further loan.

The Government has repeatedly said professional men's football is wealthy enough to support itself through the crisis, hence its exclusion, but the EFL - whose clubs have been badly hit by the loss of matchday revenue - is yet to agree terms of a bail-out with the Premier League.

In all, it is believed 11 sports will receive funding in packages made up of grants and loans, with basketball and netball among the others to be included in the rescue.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston will be providing an update in the House of Commons today and the announcement is expected in the afternoon.

Much of the professional sports sector has been left in a parlous state by the pandemic with spectators not permitted at events since action resumed post-lockdown.

There had been hope of a limited return of crowds from October but those plans were scrapped, despite some successful pilot events, due to a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Premier League football has coped relatively well due to its lucrative domestic and overseas TV deals and there is a feeling within Government it should support the lower divisions.

Negotiations between the Premier League and EFL to find a solution have been difficult but remain ongoing.