French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed to provide financial support for sports clubs struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic ©Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed a €400 million (£357 million/$474 million) funding package to help sports clubs and organisations recover from the coronavirus pandemic, which will provide a welcome boost to preparations for Paris 2024.

The announcement was made during a video conference with sports leaders including Denis Masseglia, President of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), and Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet.

Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie, Martin Fourcade, President of the Paris 2024 Athletes' Commission, and Bernard Laporte, President of the French Rugby Federation, were also among those invited to speak at the meeting, which lasted for more than two hours.

Macron's funding pledge comes after the President was sent an "SOS" letter signed by CNOSF and more than 90 other organisations calling on the Government for more support.

The letter submitted last month sounded a stark warning for the country which is scheduled to stage the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, urging that something must be done "to preserve our capacities to look collectively towards the future".

The CNOSF recently published the results of survey which found 74 per cent of the 36,000 clubs that took part had been hit by "significant" financial losses between October 2019 and October 2020.

It also revealed that clubs were already seeing a revenue deficit of €376 million (£335 million/$446 million).

Martin Fourcade, President of the Paris 2024 Athletes' Commission, was among the representatives to meet virtually with the French President ©Getty Images
Martin Fourcade, President of the Paris 2024 Athletes' Commission, was among the representatives to meet virtually with the French President ©Getty Images

An open letter was also sent to Macron earlier this week from representatives of handball, volleyball, basketball and ice hockey estimating a loss of €40 million (£37 million/$47 million) to those sports due to the closure of venues.

In response, the Government has agreed to issue the funding package which includes a €107 million (£95 million/$127 million) ticketing compensation fund.

It was also confirmed that an emergency aid fund of €15 million (£13 million/$18 million) would be eligible for amateur clubs in 2021, as well as €20 million (£18 million/$24 million) to compensate the reduction in the number of members at sports clubs.

A further €100 million (£89 million/$119 million) has been earmarked for the creation of a "sports pass", which is designed to facilitate the return of young people to sports by supporting the registration or re-registration of children at clubs.

A statement from CNOSF said the funding would not only help sports during the global health crisis but also with their post-pandemic recovery and preparations for Paris 2024. 

"The sports movement welcomes all of these announcements and the quality of the listening that has been devoted to them, which testify to the importance of sport in a post-COVID social project, especially from the perspective of the organisation of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024," the statement added.

The French Government announced a second nationwide lockdown on October 30 in a bid to curb the country’s rising COVID-19 infection rate.

France has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases globally, having recently surpassed two million, and has registered more than 47,000 deaths.