UK Sport Statement on Funding

Published 25 November 2004

Following the articles that have appeared in the press over recent days, UK Sport has issued the following statement to clarify the current situation with regards to the funding of Olympic sportsmen and women.

At a meeting held with summer Olympic governing bodies last week, UK Sport released details of its investment strategy for the next Olympiad. The aim is simple - achieving Olympic success for British athletes. The team finished tenth in the medal table at both Sydney and Athens and the target is to attain a top eight finish in 2008 and top five in 2012. To achieve this, UK Sport needs to maximise the return on the Lottery and exchequer funds invested at the top level.

The new strategy is more focused than in the past. The impact of funding will be diluted if too many athletes are supported. It is a tough, no compromise approach that will strengthen the best, support the developing and provoke change in the underperforming. Future funding of sports will take account of both past performances, which demonstrate whether the sport has a winning formula, and future potential.

An investment model has been developed and is being refined. The aim is to ensure that there is a transparent approach to deciding funding levels that rewards success, acknowledges potential and provides world class support for athletes. An update on the model, and its impact, will be presented to UK Sport's Council in December. Final award decisions will then be made in January 2005, ready for implementation from 1 April 2005.

The majority of Olympic sports funded by UK Sport are set to receive more money in the Beijing cycle than they did pre-Athens. It is premature to discuss the exact sums as sport by sport discussions are currently taking place alongside the scheduled reviews of plans for 2005-2009. However, we can categorically state that the figures referred to in the Daily Telegraph article of 23 November, which have subsequently been repeated in other press articles, bear little or no resemblance to what each sport will receive.

The figures were draft and were distributed to sports to demonstrate what funding levels and athlete numbers would emerge from a model if, for example, 70% of funding were to be based solely on past performance. This brought to life the draft model to allow the sports to consider the impact and to contribute to its refinement. Subsequent constructive feedback on the day and since has contributed to further refinements which will be discussed by the UK Sport Council at its next meeting.

A summary of the current situation:

  • UK Sport's funding of Olympic sports is increasing over the next four years. Average funding per year pre-Athens was £12.8m, pre-Beijing it will be £14.2m. Athlete personal awards are additional to this.
  • The funding strategy will not solely be based on past performance. It will be based on both past performances and future potential.
  • The details of the draft funding model and the example figures shared with the sports last week were a starting point for an open discussion. No-one should have left that meeting with the impression that everything has been decided. The concept of a model on which to base funding decisions is agreed, however the details relating to that model are still being refined.
  • Everyone should have left that meeting understanding that investment in world class success in their sport is but one part of a bigger picture of investment in Olympic medal success. We must work together to maximise the impact of the investment by funding the right athletes in the right sports and at a level that ensures world class support.
  • The figure of £98m referred to in the media as supporting Olympic athletes also covers Paralympians and Winter Olympians.

Funding Partners
  • DCMS
  • TNL partners
Official Partners
  • BAES logo
  • BUPA
  • IHG logo
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland