Drop in funding would put UK sport back decades, says university expert
8 August 2012
Following Team GB’s gold rush this week in the London 2012 Olympic Games; athletes, ministers and university experts are calling on the government to continue funding for both elite and school sport after the Games.
With the Rio 2016 Games to be seen in the horizon now, the government can give no guarantee that the current level of funding can continue. Olympic minister Hugh Robertson spoke today to the Metro, saying: “I am pretty confident that we can maintain funding at the current level and that is what I am going to do my utmost to achieve.
“Is it an absolute guarantee? No it isn’t but we are going to do everything we possibly can.”
David James, senior lecturer in sports engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, spoke at Podium’s Olympic reception warning that a drop in funding would put UK sport back decades.
Speaking just before Sir Chris Hoy claimed Team GB’s 22nd gold medal, James said: “We need to carry on in the same trajectory, let’s not get a few months down the road and suddenly veer off in a different direction. Don’t just suddenly kill all the funding down to 10% of what it’s been, let stay here.
“We understand that this has been the zenith of our sporting trajectory for a while, but don’t just kill it otherwise it will take us decades to get back to where we are now.”
Having worked on a number of Olympic sport research projects, including Sheffield Hallam’s cycling research, James understands the difficulty of gaining funding. He explained the issues with the current system, saying: “Sport doesn’t even have a research council that is dedicated to it so we have to temper expectations slightly just because of the scales of investment.
“Sport should have an equal billing to other disciplines, but, what happens is, if you’re making a grant application to a research council and you put sport in the title its value is not what it should be. It would be nice to see a different culture.”
With Team GB’s recent success, many hope for a culture recognising the importance of sport funding.
University of Plymouth historian Kevin Jefferys, author of ‘Sport and Politics in Modern Britain: the Road to 2012’, is confident that there will be enough political pressure to keep elite sport funding at the current level, but said: “Sports which haven’t delivered medals will the one to look out for. Waterpolo, handball and volleyball have been funded up to London 2012 because of their automatic qualification, but their continual funding will need to be watched. They have proved popular in the public mind so it will be interesting to see if that plays a part.
“Overall I think the future for elite sport funding looks good as no Prime Minister will want to be the one to jeopardise Britain maintaining its position in the medal table for future Olympic Games.”
With the Closing Ceremony drawing ever closer, soon all eyes will shift to future Olympic Games and we can safely predict that sport funding will remain an issue in the spotlight.
Both David James and Kevin Jefferys are Podium Games Experts – you can find more experts at www.games-experts.com.
By Ruth Faulkner
Join the 2419 followers of @PodiumFor2012
So it is the UAE who will not be at #RWC2015 after they lost to the Philippines who can still qualify! But can they make it?
Newton excited at future with women's team pursuit stars http://www.teamgb.com/news/newton-excited-future-womens-team-pursuit-stars #CyclingTrack
Today Godiva Fesival has been added to the School Games and Corporate Games event opportunities for Ambassadors this summer!
Girls, want to hear about my teenage years? Check out Lil-Lets brilliant ‘becoming a teen’ campaign – http://youtube.com/becomingateenUK