How UK Sport funding works

The primary role of UK Sport is to strategically invest National Lottery and Exchequer income to maximise the performance of UK athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the global events which precede them.

Investment decisions are made on a four year basis wherever possible to cover a complete Olympic or Paralympic cycle but are focussed on an eight year performance development model.

Success is measured by the medals won, the number of medallists developed, and the quality of the systems and processes in place to find and support the nation’s most promising future champions.

To achieve this UK Sport invests around 70 per cent of its income through two channels:

  1. Central funding for sporting National Governing Bodies (NGBs), enabling them to operate a World Class Programme (WCP) and ensuring athletes have access to outstanding support personnel and training environments to ensure they are among the best prepared in the world.
  2. Direct to athlete funding in the shape of an Athlete Performance Award (APA). This award, which is solely funded by National Lottery income, is paid directly to the athletes and contributes to their living and sporting costs.

UK Sport also makes significant investment in its partners including the English Institute of Sport and other Home Country Sports Institutes and the British Olympic and Paralympic (BOA & BPA) preparation plans for the Rio 2016 Games including the preparation camp itself at Belo Horizonte.

UK Sport also runs a number of world leading centralised strategic support services including the development of world class coaches and running talent identification
campaigns to fast track future medallists in to the right sports.

Programme Support

  • World Class Coaches
  • Sports science and medicine
  • Warm weather training and acclimatisation
  • International competition schedules
  • Athlete development programmes
  • Access to high performance training facilities

This support is typically worth around £36,000 - £60,000 per athlete per annum at the Podium level, and £23,000 - £40,000 per athlete at the Podium Potential level, depending on the sport. 

Athlete Performance Awards

APAs serve to contribute to the athlete’s ordinary living costs and their personal sporting costs. APAs are allocated where there is the greatest ‘financial need’ and are subject to a means testing exercise. UK Sport has set a maximum income threshold of £65,000 (including their APA) above which an athlete's APA will begin to be deducted pound for pound.

The level of APA received is determined by a number of criteria, not least of which is the level of performance an athlete has achieved and is capable of producing in the future. While there are variances depending on the sport, three performance categories apply for ‘Podium’ level athletes:

  • Band A – Medallists at Olympic Games or Senior World Championships or gold medallists at Paralympic Games or Senior World Championships
  • Band B – a minimum of a top 8 finish at Olympic Games or Senior World Championships or medallists at Paralympic Games or Senior World Championships
  • Band C – Likely to be major championship performers and those who demonstrate the capacity to achieve a medal result at World or Olympic level within four years but flexibility given to individual sports to set their own criteria

Athletes on Podium level funding can currently receive APAs to the value of: 

  • Band A – up to £28,000 pa
  • Band B - up to £21,500 pa
  • Band C - up to £15,000 pa

Funding is awarded on the basis of an Olympic cycle and commences on 1 April (1st October for Winter Sports) in the year immediately following a Games, for a period of four years.

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Funding Partners
  • Department for Culture, Media & Sport
Official Partners
  • BAE Systems
  • BUPA
  • Sportscover
Official Suppliers
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland