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SBD Global/November 29, 2012/Olympics

U.K. Sport, Sport England Likely To Avoid Merger Despite PM's Plans

Plans to merge the elite sport-funding body U.K. Sport and the grassroots quango Sport England as part of PM David Cameron's "bonfire of the quangos" are likely to be "scrapped in the wake of Team GB's Olympic success" from the summer, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. U.K. Sport, which invested £312M ($499.7M) in the four-year Olympic cycle to Beijing and has had its funding protected until Rio de Janeiro in '16, "had lobbied hard against the plans in the belief it could dull the 'no compromise' ethos that led to fourth place in the medal table in Beijing and third in London." It is understood that "a letter has gone to the cabinet office recommending that they retain separate chairmen, CEOs and boards, after all." However, it is also understood that the two organizations "will still be asked to look for ways to save back-office costs, to move out of their separate central London offices into a new location, and examine ways to cooperate more effectively." In particular, "ministers want them to discuss how to better bridge the gap between the community sport projects funded by Sport England using up to £250M ($400.4M) of exchequer and Lottery funding per year and the 'no compromise' approach employed by U.K. Sport to target its cash at the most-likely medal prospects" (GUARDIAN, 11/27).
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