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Seven National Governing Bodies among last tranche of Sport England funding!

Seven national governing bodies will take a share of £27.1m (US$33.9m, €31.4m) after Sport England revealed its last batch of funding awards.

The Rugby Football League (RFL), the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and BaseballSoftballUK were among the organisations to receive investment.

The former has been granted £10.8m (US$13.5m, €12.5m) over the next four years to support its 95,000 regular players and get more people playing rugby league at school and university level.

It will also be used to create different variants of the sport – such as tag rugby league and wheelchair rugby league – and to get more female, ethnic minority and disabled people into the sport.

Around £10.6m (US$13.3m, €12.3m) has been given to the ASA to help the body recruit more volunteers, to develop the swimming workforce and to work closer with GPs to use swimming to help people with dementia.

Money will be used to allow clubs and operators to offer free diving, synchronised swimming and water polo taster sessions to the public.

Part of the ASA’s grant – £3.1m (US$3.9m, €3.2m) – will go towards a programme supporting talented athletes.

Fresh from the disappointment of losing UK Sport funding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle, Badminton England has been given £2.8m (US$3.5m, €3.2m) to support its programme for talented athletes after being granted a £7.5m (US$9.4m, €8.7m) grassroots pot late last year.

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy, who said he was "staggered” to lose funding from the elite sports quango after the sport won an unexpected medal at Rio 2016, said the money would allow the governing body to "identify and nurture more young talent”.

BaseballSoftballUK was awarded £1.3m (US$1.6m, €1.5m), while Taekwondo Organisation Ltd, British Weight Lifting and Basketball England also received grants for the 2017-2021 period.

Sport England has now committed around £216m (US$270.1m, €250.3m) to governing bodies over the next four years.

The figure is dwarfed by the £493m (US$616.4m, €571.3m) reserved for governing bodies over the 2013-17 Whole Sport Plan cycle, but Sport England director of sport Phil Smith explained that the organisations’ responsibilities had been narrowed down to just looking after the people who play the sport already.

"National governing bodies of sport know these people well and are in a good position to deliver the quality experience they are looking for,” he said.

"I’ve been really impressed by the way they’ve responded to our new strategy and put customers at the heart of their plans.”