Cash-Strapped British Volleyball Has 7 Minutes, 30 Seconds To Save Itself
British sports organizations cut from funding "will be given only a few minutes to make their case" when they appeal to UK Sport this month, according to Sue Mott of the SUNDAY TIMES. Unless "hard-line decisions are reversed or amended, the Olympic careers of 35 volleyball players will be over." With no finance, there will be "no way to pay for coaches, players, performance staff or facilities." UK Sport "adheres rigorously to the view that sports unlikely to win medals in Rio should not be funded." Volleyball, basketball, table tennis and handball are due to receive no more money, a policy called “Dickensian,” “bonkers” and “dishonourable” by critics. British Volleyball is appealing the decision. It "wants a different funding model for team sports," a sentiment supported by former England rugby player and coach Clive Woodward. Each squad will be allowed seven minutes and 30 seconds to make its case at a hearing Jan. 30. UK Sport is "now under pressure to reveal the criteria by which it made its decisions," especially since water polo got a funding increase of 55% despite failing to win a match at the Olympics. Neither weightlifting or fencing achieved its pre-Olympic targets, but "receive significant increases through to Rio." Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that while he was "broadly sympathetic" to UK Sport’s policy, a "shift in emphasis might be needed." Robertson: "We’ve reached the end of an era at UK Sport and it’s time for a fresh approach" (SUNDAY TIMES, 1/20).
BASKETBALL CUTS CRITICIZED: In London, Giuseppe Muro reported NBA Commissioner David Stern "slammed the decision to cut British basketball's funding" for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Stern said: "Before the Olympics, basketball was being talked about as a sport being played in neighbourhoods in a country bemoaning the fact they had shut down so many playing fields. The decision confounded me" (EVENING STANDARD, 1/18).