University expert calls for urgent new national sport strategy after the London 2012 Olympic Games
8 August 2012
Plymouth University historian Professor Kevin Jefferys argues for a reinvigorated national sporting policy after the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Sport Think Tank contributor reiterated the need for a coherent, coordinated and centrally-led UK sporting strategy, calling on the government to use the momentum gained from Team GB’s success as a springboard for the change.
Speaking exclusively to Podium, Jefferys said: “There is a head of steam building at the moment calling for a national campaign for improved school sports, formed from Team GB’s success, but work is needed on sport policy.
“My view is based on the past evidence that sport policy is quite disjointed as a result of how it is organised, so my main call is for a much more integrative sport strategy to join up the dots, from community sport all the way to elite sport.”
Jefferys called for this strategy in a History and Policy paper published just before the Olympics, but feels that with Great Britain’s success at London 2012 the need has increased. He said: “After the Olympic Games it will be a now or never moment for sport policy. If this success can’t be capitalised upon now then it could slip dramatically. There are real hopes and fears looking ahead.”
The Professor proposed a possible link between London 2012 and the future sports policy, putting forward a case for a high profile government ambassador for sport policy with one key figure in mind:
“Prime Ministers typically have varying interest in sport policy, which causes fluctuations. An ambassador could keep things on track. Dare I say it, if Lord Coe were prepared to take another major role, he would be perfect.”
The historian commented that the structure of UK sport policy has slipped since the Conservative party took power, saying: “There was a coordinated sport policy with New Labour until 2010 – it is now much more disjointed. We need a wholesale national sports strategy; I’ve been arguing this for some time.”
Professor Jefferys intends to re-launch his campaign for such a sports strategy with the Sport Think Tank soon as the future of UK sport becomes the subject on everyone’s lips after the London 2012 closing ceremony.
You can see Professor Jefferys’ policy papers on History and Policy at www.historyandpolicy.org/.
By Ruth Faulkner
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