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UK Sport launches consultation into elite sport funding

By Tom Walker    04 Jun 2018
Katherine Grainger said she has found the funding systems at UK Sport and Sport England 'challenging'

The way elite sport is being funded in the UK could be facing a shake-up, following a consultation into how UK Sport distributes National Lottery money.

Launched by the high-performance funding agency, the public discussions will look into the UK Sport's future investment principles and how best to "inspire the nation through elite success".

The organisation invests around £100m of lottery and government money into high-performance sport each year.

Its 'no-compromise' policy – which places heavy emphasis on medal success at Olympic Games – has widely been credited with elevating Team GB into one of the most successful Olympic and Paralympic teams since its launch in 1996.

The approach has attracted criticism, however, especially from national governing bodies of sports which have failed to hit their medal targets and, as a result, have had their funding cut.

A spokesperson said the 10-week consultation will form the basis for a new funding strategy, due to come into effect from April 2021, when the current funding cycle for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games comes to an end.

UK Sport has commissioned two sports consultancies – Future Thinking and The Sports Consultancy – to conduct and analyse the consultation responses, in order to keep the process "independent and impartial".

UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger said: “The success of the UK’s high-performance sport system since the advent of National Lottery funding in the 1990s has been nothing short of remarkable.

"The challenge now is how we build on that success, aiming for even more inspirational impact on the UK as a whole.

"Financially there will always be a limit to the public funding available, whether that is National Lottery or exchequer funding and so that means there are no easy answers when it comes to decisions.

"What is clear is that the UK Sport Board and I do not come at this with any preconceived conclusions other than that we believe in the power and inspiration of British sport.

"We look forward to receiving people’s views and welcome what we hope will be a lively, respectful and worthwhile debate.”

Members of the public, along with stakeholders in national governing bodies, grassroots sport and athletes, politicians and the media will be invited to take part ahead of decisions to be made later this year.

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch added: “Our elite sport system has transformed Britain into an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse and it’s paramount that we build on this and continue to inspire future generations.

"I'm pleased that UK Sport are going out to the public and stakeholders on how this can be achieved. I encourage everyone to share their views on what they want to see from the high-performance sport system in this country and how money should be invested.”

UK Sport  National Lottery  Katherine Grainger  Tracey Crouch 
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