Funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport received a massive boost today as UK Sport announced additional funding awards for the three years through to Beijing 2008. The increased public investment totals £65.3 million – conditional upon meeting a series of funding 'triggers’ - and is available as a result of the Government’s decision last month to allocate up to £300 million to our athlete preparations for London 2012. Of this, £58.8 million is earmarked for Summer Olympic support and £6.5 million for Summer Paralympic sports.
A total of £17 million is being invested in 2006/7 as some Olympic sports gear up to entering the world class sporting arena for the first time, with a further £23.2 million invested in 2007/8 and £25.1 million in 2008/9. According to UK Sport’s comprehensive investment model, the accepted basis for all the new funding being distributed, this will allow athletes from a total of 27 Summer Olympic disciplines the chance to pursue their dreams of competing and winning at a home games in six years time. UK Sport will review progress across the sports after Beijing before determining the allocation of funding required to meet its overall ambitions for success in London 2012.
Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, said: "We have started today a six year process that will not just deliver medals in 2012 but help transform the high performance system in this country for ever. Allocating funding across so many sports is never easy but a decision eventually has to be made about the relative merits of competing demands.
"We believe our no compromise strategy is the most equitable approach to resolving this, taking into account both the detailed information gathered from the sports and significant objective data regarding recent performances, medal opportunities and their overall competitive potential.
Campbell was also keen to stress that the new money comes with strong emphasis on effective governance: "Public funding should never be a given – it must be earned. It is for the sports and athletes now to prove by their performances in the next three years that this investment is justified and indeed should be increased as they build up to London 2012. And they must also demonstrate they are fit for purpose in handling public funds. Through our Funding Triggers we will carefully monitor governance and performance issues and withhold funding to any sport not meeting the criteria, whilst offering support to help them get there.
"We received the extra money from Government because they believe in our investment approach. That is why it is essential we retain that overall vision for how the money should be allocated across the sports. But within the funding award, there is genuine flexibility of approach to address the unique challenges within each sport."
Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell gave her support: "Within three weeks of the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget governing bodies have been told how much money they will get.
"UK Sport have got out of the blocks quickly and shown just how serious we all are in our determination to give the potential medallists of 2012 the maximum possible backing for their ambitions.
"Between now and 2012 they will get a world-class package of support to make their dreams – and ours - come true when Britain plays host to the world’s greatest sporting event."
Highlights of the new funding package include:
- Additional investment in all Olympic sports except tennis and football, making total public funding for each at least £465,000 per year
- A single increased amount for Paralympics, rising year on year, with decisions to be made over the next few months on the sport by sport allocation from September
- Targeted funding for existing performance sports as part of no compromise approach to medal success
- Significant new investment in sports not currently represented at the Olympics to kick-start performance levels
- The flexibility for each sport to take their overall award and maximise its impact according to the unique challenges and opportunities they face
UK Sport also published the draft series of "Funding Release Triggers" that will ensure that the planning and governance of all the governing bodies is carefully monitored and that they are fit for purpose for receiving public funds. Those not able to meet the criteria over a range of key issues will have funding withheld over the first year as they modernise their practices and performance systems.
In announcing the sport by sport funding awards for 2006-2009 today, UK Sport has met its commitment to do so within 14 working days set out in its "100 Day Plan" for delivery. This demonstrates its commitment to a transparent, responsible and performance driven process. The next stage will be to send out award letters and to make first quarter payments to all sports within 21 days of grant acceptance. Further payments could then be reduced by up to 50% each quarter, dependent on a sport’s ability to meet the staged Funding Triggers.