UK Sport’s investment is made through four year awards which have a future focus. This reflects our ambition to develop a more sustainable, healthy and efficient sporting ecosystem, and acknowledges that this will take time.
The process involves us working with sports when coming into investment decisions for each Olympic and Paralympic cycle. We provide guidance to sports and work closely with them in building their case for investment against an agreed set of criteria and requirements. Submissions are then evaluated on both an individual basis, as well as looking at the overall affordability and balance of resources between investment streams.
When our awards are made they are against specific investment streams designed to provide support to sports and athletes who meet the eligibility criteria.
Investment is provided at a number of different levels including:
- Contributing to the costs and services needed to support high-performance athletes to achieve success in the Olympic or Paralympic Games and at other major competitions.
- Assisting sports with the long-term aim of growing a more accessible and sustainable system of support that enables more high potential athletes to emerge.
- Ensuring the most promising athletes can attend major championship competitions and Games qualification events.
Investment is also made into awards that will complement these funding streams such as Athlete Performance Awards (APAs) and performance services.
Awards are formally reviewed each year through the annual review process, which is designed to respond to challenges and opportunities a sport may be facing, as well as reviewing the progress towards ambitions and goals for the funding cycle.
We make significant investment in our partners including the English Institute of Sport and other Home Country Sports Institutes (Sport Wales, sportscotland and Sport Northern Ireland) and the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations. This partner investment is crucial in the delivery of outstanding support to athletes and staff across the high performance system.
Support services investment
We run a number of world leading centralised strategic support services including the development of world class coaches and running talent identification campaigns to fast track athletes into the right sports.
Athlete Performance Awards (APAs)
Direct athlete funding comes 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. APAs are administered centrally by UK Sport and are aimed at enabling athletes to pursue medal success in the Olympic or Paralympic Games and in other major championship events. APA funding is designed to enable athletes to fully engage in a sport’s high-performance programme and meet the demands associated with progression towards the Olympic and Paralympic podium.
APAs are not designed to support athletes that could be considered professional – i.e. athletes that have secured an income via professional or semi-professional contract, through prize money, endorsement or related income streams, that enables them to operate independently and as such are subject to a means test.
Podium APAs are designed to support athletes whose profile indicates a strong prospect of achieving/contributing to medal winning performances at the Olympic or Paralympic Games within the cycle and who are already achieving/contributing to international results within the medal zone
• Podium awards are made at A and B levels
• An additional award level ‘Paris Potential’ is provided to support athletes that have been in receipt of a Podium level award, do not meet the competition outcome standards to retain an A or B award, yet remain a strong medal prospect for Paris.
Podium Potential APAs are designed to support athletes who have been identified and confirmed as having the potential to bridge the gap to Olympic and Paralympic medal success and have made the commitment to pursue this goal. Podium Potential awards are made at C and D levels.
Entry Level APAs are designed to support athletes in their first 1-2 years of inclusion in high-performance programmes, to provide a period through which the potential of the athlete is explored and confirmed.