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UK government begins radical overhaul of sports funding strategy

By Tom Walker    04 Aug 2015
Tracey Crouch has said she will rip up the existing strategy

A public consultation has been launched to mark the start of a new strategy for sport in the UK – the first step in radically overhauling the way sport is funded.

Launching the consultation, the government warned that public funding is a “privilege not a right” and has intimated it wants to see a better return on investment for grants made to groups and organisations.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said that at the heart of the need for a new strategy was the failure to increase the number of people playing sport since the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Figures from Sport England’s Active People Survey show that nearly 250,000 people have stopped taking part in regular activity over the past six months.

The government hasn’t ruled out the possibility of money potentially being diverted away from national governing bodies (NGBs) and onto other organisations – such as StreetGames, Parkrun and Sported – which might be able to deliver better results.

Crouch said: “I want to make sure that the sports sector gives everybody – no matter who they are and what their ability – the chance to take part.

“Public funding is a privilege not a right and has to go to the organisations that can make a real difference.”

Since her appointment in May, Crouch has made it clear that a new strategy is at the heart of the government’s plans for sport.

Speaking at the House of Commons on 24 June, Crouch said: “The current strategy is not delivering. We’ve been working on the basis of a strategy that was delivered in 2002 and is no longer fit for purpose.

“So I have ripped up the old strategy, and the consultation on a brand new sport strategy will reform how we deliver sport in this country.”

The way the UK’s elite programmes are funded will also be considered in the new strategy.

“Britain has punched above its weight in elite sport in recent years with fantastic results but we cannot be complacent,” Crouch added.

“I want sport to do all it can to bring on the next generation of talent so that the nation continues to enjoy success and inspirational performances.”

• To read more about the new strategy and to download the full consultation document, click here.

• Do you have an opinion on what the new sports strategy should include? What changes would you like to see in the way public funding is channeled to sports organisations and NGBs? Let us know your thoughts by emailing Tom Walker, managing editor of Sports Management: click here to send email.

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