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UK Sport consultation closes with "record number" of responses

By Tom Walker    24 Aug 2018
Basketball has been one of the most vocal critics of UK Sport's 'no compromise' approach to funding

UK Sport has closed a public consultation designed to shape its future investment principles.

The consultation asked for views on how UK Sport should allocate its National Lottery and taxpayer funding following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A new funding strategy influenced by the consultation is set to come into effect from April 2021.

While UK Sport funding has ensured unprecedented success for Team GB athletes at recent Olympic Games, a number of sports governing bodies have complained that the agency's "no compromise" approach should be scrapped.

Sports that currently receive no funding for their elite athletes due to lack of success – such as basketball and badminton – have been particularly vocal in their criticism.

Last year, 11 national governing bodies of sport launched a campaign demanding a "tiered support structure", which would see every Olympic and Paralympic sport a base-level of funding.

Criticism has also been directed at "too much money" being spent on winter sports – rather than "more accessible" sports with higher participation numbers.

High-profile critics of UK Sport funding in recent years have included five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave, who said more money should be spent on events that "people can get involved in".

The consultation – which was launched on 4 June and ran for 11 weeks – received unprecedented interest, with UK Sport receiving 4,923 responses to the consultation. The figure is a huge increase on the last UK Sport Public Consultation in 2014, to which there were 924 contributions.

All consultation responses will be now be analysed by Future Thinking and The Sports Consultancy and summarised for the UK Sport Board in an independent report.

The UK Sport Board will then decide the future funding strategy by early 2019, when the final independent consultation report will also be published externally.

“The significant response to the consultation demonstrates real interest in Olympic and Paralympic sport in the UK as well as its future direction," said UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl.

“As an investor of significant public funds, it is right that we should check in with the general public to ask whether they want us to continue aiming to inspire the nation through medal success and whether we should change our focus in any way."

UK Sport  Future Thinking  The Sports Consultancy  Liz Nicholl 
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