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Funding Review

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This weeks blog is a short one as the end of the world – so some say – approaches. In the news this week was a major funding review of sports in the UK after the tremendous summer. There was never any easy way to deal with this and some think that sports will always be difficult to fund.
That is very true. Sports by their very nature attract different people to differing degrees. Not all sports have the same fan base or numbers. With a limited amount of money, what does the governing body do? At the Olympics and Paralympics, there was success at certain events. The medal rush was the best in years. Some sports had pressure to perform, others had pressure of funding.
Now after the summer comes the rebuilding. There is limited funding available. So what does the governing body do? Their idea is to ensure sports that we could be successful in gain in funding. Those who are thought to have little success have had their funding reduced. But, is that the best way forward?

Without help, how can some sports create success? Maybe the way forward is to take the blueprints of successful sports and adapt them to others. Cycling for example increased its number of medals, despite the sports body changing rules. Rowing did the same. So how did they do so well? They designed a performance program, developed techniques and found those little percentages which made a difference. Reducing funding without giving help could create a gap between sports.

There is a limited amount of money available for all spots and one of the key factors seems to be how successful they may be in the next games. It is a very fine line between condemning a sport as not important to pressure of success by results. Archery suffered a large loss of money on the Olympic side and a small amount to the Paralympic archers. Funding impacts in many ways, loss of support, loss of squad members. So how does a sport pick itself up? Does it raise funds from its own membership or find others to support it? If sport charges too much it will drive away its own base and start a downward cycle. If it stays still and does not perform, then nothing happens its membership may not grow and so it becomes stuck.

In this year when so much was achieved, the word legacy was at the forefront. In order to do that in my view, sports need to help each other. Its not bad to ask for help. If sports can help each other, by sharing blueprints maybe that is the key. Funding certainly helps a sport grow. Removing it without giving something else, may make the sport just disappear. The young gold medalist may find themselves suddenly cast adrift. In all sports youth is vital. So do funds need to be aimed just at them? 2016 seems far away, but the road to Rio has already started. Will we hit the golds we want or will funding have an adverse impact.

My tagline, “Sports is for all, but not everyone understands sporting legacy”

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