Australian Sports Facing Funding Cuts Ahead Of Tokyo 2020
Athletics is "among a group of high-profile sports facing major funding cuts" ahead of Tokyo 2020, which the Australian Olympic Committee says "will adversely affect the team," according to the AAP. Athletics Australia "stands to lose" about A$1.1M ($1.4M) in the '19-20 financial year after the Australian Institute of Sport declared only 80% of AA's funding "was guaranteed." The remaining 20% "was contestable." Sailing -- which has been a "reliable source of Olympic medals in recent years for Australia" -- is also "set to have its funding cut," along with gymnastics, water polo and volleyball. Table tennis, synchronized swimming and men's football will not receive any financial support from the AIS "due to their negligible medal prospects." AOC CEO Matt Carroll said that the timing of the proposed cuts "would cause huge budgetary problems for the affected sports." He said in a statement, "It would be naive to think that high-performance athletes can enjoy their best preparation when there is financial pressure on coaching, programs, competitions and rising costs" (AAP, 11/26). In Sydney, Sam Buckingham-Jones reported two of Australia's "most senior" sports officials "savaged" a new strategy to fund the nation's sports. Carroll and AA President Mark Arbib said that the new funding model announced by the Australian Sports Commission "rewarded and punished sports without justification and lacked the transparency of old strategies." Arbib said that it was "insulting" for Sports Australia to laud the funding charges, "which may well impact the junior levels of athletics." Arbib: "It's a very disappointing day for Australian athletics. To receive a 20 percent cut in our budget two years from the Tokyo Games is a disaster. ... Only seven months ago, our Aussie athletics team topped the medal tally on the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games. ... This decision does not make sense." Carroll said that Sport Australia's funding has been reduced by 20% over the past eight years and there was "not enough money" for Australian sport. Carroll: "We are realistic. Sports need to be accountable and there is only so much money to go around but it is very difficult to plan and produce high performance in this environment" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/26).