UK Sport to reconsider "no compromise" funding policy

UK Sport could be set to reconsider its no-compromise approach to funding elite athletes, handing a lifeline to sports such as basketball which have had their financial backing cut.

Reuters| Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 17:54 PM IST
UK Sport to reconsider "no compromise" funding policy

London: UK Sport could be set to reconsider its no-compromise approach to funding elite athletes, handing a lifeline to sports such as basketball which have had their financial backing cut.

UK Sport`s current funding policy is performance based, and under this method Britain moved from 36th in the Olympic medal table at the 1996 Atlanta Games to third at London 2012.

But with widespread criticism from sports, including basketball where funding has been reduced, UK Sport will launch a public consultation to address its future policy.

"We really do want to listen," UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl told the BBC. "We are not arrogant enough to think that we know how to do everything best.

"The questions that we need to ask now, of the nation, of the government, of our partners, are: `What is it that they want UK Sport to be focused on? What is it they want UK Sport to deliver?`

"We will review what we hear from the consultation, we will refine our thinking and agree a direction of travel in February."

In February, UK Sport cancelled funding for seven sports, including basketball, weightlifting and badminton because they were deemed to have slim chances of winning medals at Rio 2016 and the Tokyo 2020 Games.

But with basketball the second biggest team sport among 14-16 year olds in the UK, Nicholl said UK Sport must consider participation rates when it comes to funding.

"We always listen to what sports are saying and give very careful consideration to whether that means we should be doing something differently," Nicholl said.

"We`re hearing quite a few comments from team sports, particularly basketball, sports that are not funded by us in this cycle because they are more than eight years away from developing medal potential.

"And so, the questions we will be asking are: `Should we dig deeper? Should we extend our remit? I think we are confident that we could do that this time round. We have the capacity to do it, the knowledge and the ability to be able to do that."