UK Sport stands by funding call

  • Last Updated: March 19 2014, 15:28 GMT

UK Sport has rejected appeals against its decision to withdraw funding from Olympics sports basketball, synchronised swimming and women's water polo.

The funding body has also stood by its decision to cut all funds from Paralympics sports goalball, visually-impaired football and wheelchair fencing.

UK Sport has changed its decision about women's weightlifting and reinstated money totalling £894,000 in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics, while badminton has been awarded an extra £250,000.

UK Sport chairman Rod Carr admitted that the decisions on zero funding, confirming the original announcement last month, would be unpopular in some quarters.

He said: "I accept that by its very nature 'No Compromise' is not universally popular but there's one thing we are sure of - it works.

"The recent outstanding successes at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated once again that investing the right money, in the right athletes, for the right reasons, is a winning formula."

Carr added: "The starting point for UK Sport and the Board is that we want to be able to invest in as many Olympic and Paralympic sports as possible but they must be able to credibly demonstrate medal winning potential within eight years.

"Weightlifting came back to us with a compelling new strategy focused on developing their most talented female athletes with a view to challenging for medals by Tokyo 2020."

Carr said sports that are not at that level would still receive public funding driving from bodies such as Sport England which aim to boost grass-roots participation and talent development.

British Swimming called on sports minister Helen Grant to intervene and said it would consider a formal appeal to the independent Sports Resolutions UK body.

"This is a very dark and sad day for British sport - especially for women's sport," said British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes.

"How can an elite programme such as synchro, which has long been held by UK Sport as a model of world class athlete development and leadership, that has achieved all of its performance indicators since it first received funding, have its funding removed just 12 months after it was enhanced?

"It is a sport that has never failed to deliver on its performance promises and this decision beggars belief - it clearly highlights a fundamental flaw in the UK Sport funding system.

"On behalf of water polo, synchro and other Olympic sports that face the real possibility of dying out as a result of today's announcement, we call on the sports minister to show leadership in this area by looking at the entire funding system for elite sport."

Badminton, however, welcomed UK Sport's decision to reinstate the funding. GB chairman Simon Clegg: "I am delighted that UK Sport have reacted so positively to our representation. It also recognises the excellent progress made in recent months by the whole squad.

"We can now fully focus on the challenge to hand, this year's World Championships, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and delivering the targeted results."

British Basketball will also consider making a formal appeal and called for political leadership to find a solution to an apparent funding gap affecting team sports. Countries such as Canada have adopted different funding systems for team sports and individual sports.

Roger Moreland, the sport's performance chairman, said: "Winning medals now and in the future should be celebrated, but we need to consider its impact.

"Basketball has a grassroots base bigger than any other British Olympic team sport. A funding system with nearly £350 million pounds available for elite sport cannot be working to the best of its ability, if it can leave sports like basketball behind.

"If there is the political will and the leadership, a solution can be found. Other countries have done so."


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