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).
Embattled provincial unions "may be in for a financial leg-up from the New Zealand Rugby Union next year on the back of a better-than-budgeted profit," according to Toby Robson of the DOMINION POST. It has been a tough few years for the country's unions, with "spiralling player wage bills, falling gates and a lean sponsorship market cutting into the coffers." However, NZRU CEO Steve Tew "has indicated help could be at hand on the back of big int'l deals with AIG and adidas," both in foreign currency and hedged at favorable rates. Tew said, "We are going to have a better-than-budgeted profit, which we'll announce in the new year and not just courtesy of AIG, but other good work that's been done around test matches and other things. We've upped the ante in terms of our global commercial reach with the AIG deal and that's locked and loaded a very significant portion of our income right through to 2018" (DOMINION POST, 12/18).
South Africa was "plunged into crisis" just a month before it hosts the African Nations Cup finals with the suspension of its football association president and other top officials following a report into match fixing involving the national team, according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. South African FA President Kirsten Nematandani, new CEO Dennis Mumble and its top refereeing officials "have been suspended indefinitely." The suspension follows the handing over Friday by FIFA to SAFA of a 500-page report "investigating the activities" of convicted Singapore match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and his Football 4U organization. Outgoing CEO Robin Petersen said, "These suspensions were necessary for good governance and for allowing this matter to be thoroughly and properly investigated" (REUTERS, 12/17).
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: GOAL's Ian Malcolm wrote FIFA issued its initial report on the matches last week and an emergency committee from the SAFA held a meeting on Sunday where it "considered and accepted the report as received." SAFA has essentially acknowledged its guilt in the matter and will now "seek to root out" the individuals within the organization who the associations feels are responsible (GOAL, 12/17). SUNDAY WORLD's Kgomotso Sethusha wrote even though "further examination" of the report is yet to take place, the "explosive document" has left SAFA officials on "tenterhooks." A SAFA official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the match-fixers "could not have acted alone." The official said, "The report identifies SAFA officials and the impression out there is that the association harbours criminals and corrupt elements. SAFA is definitely going to take action against those involved and send out a strong message" (SUNDAY WORLD, 12/16).
Baseball and softball leaders "have agreed on a name for the new unified int'l body seeking a place in the 2020 Olympics." The World Baseball Softball Confederation "will govern both sports in their joint bid for a return to the Games." The group "will be led by co-Presidents Don Porter and Riccardo Fraccari." Porter is current president of the Int'l Softball Federation; Fraccari heads the Int'l Baseball Federation (IBAF). Both men are in Lausanne, Switzerland this week for presentations to the IOC program commission (AP, 12/17). ... Embattled Cricket South Africa "is facing a new challenge as calls mounted for the resignation of its action President Willie Basson." This comes "following allegations that he was part of apartheid-era chemical warfare research programmes aimed at oppressing the black majority" (PTI, 12/14). ... A recent judgment in favor of the Indian Hockey Federation, the country's governing field hockey body, "could result in a huge tax relief for other sports federations too, including the cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India." The IHF "had opposed the income tax department's levy on Rs 44.99 lakh sponsorship money received from Sahara India in '08-09." The IT department "treated this as IHF's income and imposed tax on the returnable income" (TNN, 12/16).