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SBD Global/December 18, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sport England Gets Tough On Olympic Funding For Tennis, Swimming

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Swimming was one of several sport looking to increase participation in the U.K.
Six sports in Great Britain have been warned that they will have millions of pounds in funding taken away "unless they can show they can improve participation figures in the next 12 months," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Grassroots investment body Sport England revealed how £493.4M ($798M) in lottery and exchequer funding will be divided up between 46 sports over the next four years (GUARDIAN, 12/17). In London, Ashling O'Connor reported "the winners" in Sport England’s funding plan were cycling, netball, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, boxing and mountaineering. Swimming, tennis and cricket were "the biggest losers" under a “payment by results” strategy that punishes governing bodies for failing to engage 14- to 25-year-olds. About 60% of the funding is "geared toward this age bracket." Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said, “We want all sports governing bodies to help inspire a generation and create a culture where people have a sporting habit for life.” Sports missing their annual targets face "losing a fifth of their remaining investment with rival disciplines able to bid for the money." Sport England CEO Jennie Price said, “This is about backing winners. We are determined to get good value for every pound of this funding” (LONDON TIMES, 12/17).

CYCLING REWARDED: In London, Roger Blitz reported cycling’s success in increasing participation "has been rewarded with a 30% increase in long-term funding." Cycling is now Sport England’s "most-funded sport," receiving £32M ($52M), compared with £24.7M in the previous four-year period. British Cycling said slightly less than 2 million people were cycling at least once a week, 200,000 more than the number in Oct. '11 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/17).

TENNIS ANYONE? In London, Martyn Ziegler wrote tennis has had millions of pounds of funding "put on hold unless the sport can improve its plan to boost participation." The Lawn Tennis Association's four-year plan for increasing the numbers of people playing has been declared "not strong enough" by Sport England and £10.3M ($16.7M) of its £17.4M ($28.4M) total has been "put on hold." For tennis, the overall funding will go down from £24.5M ($39.7M) to £17.4M and the LTA will "have to produce a convincing new, improved plan" for how they will spend the money. Price: "Their plan simply wasn't strong enough to justify the four-year investment. Our hope with tennis is that they do access the full four years" (INDEPENDENT, 12/17).
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