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  • 24 January 2014 00:00
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Sport England sets out tough approach for six key sports

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Sport England has set out a new, tougher approach for future investment in the six key sports of basketball, tennis, swimming, table tennis, squash and fencing.

The plans are designed to ensure millions of people across the country who play sport get the maximum impact from Sport England’s investments.

The plans see a radical change to Sport England’s funding for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) as they will decrease the funding for tennis programmes for 16-25 years olds by 20% over the next year.

This comes after the number of 16-25 years olds playing tennis decreased in the last Active People participation survey.

There are also big changes for basketball as Sport England is not confident in England Basketball’s ability to increase the numbers of people playing the sport and therefore has reduced its investment into the national governing body (NGB).

Instead, Sport England will take a new approach to delivery of basketball and increase the overall investment earmarked for the sport by committing an additional £2.3 million between 2013 and 2017.

At the same time it will invest in other providers including the British Basketball League Foundation and Reach and Teach in a bid to strengthen the marketplace and support alternative ways to get more people playing basketball.

Elsewhere the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) will see a further £3.5 million investment over the next year, the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) a further £2.3 million investment, England Squash and Racquetball (ESR) a further £3.37 million investment and British Fencing a further £250,000 investment.

However, all four of these sports have various conditions attached to these investments which include significantly improved leadership structures (with a new CEO and Development Director required at British Fencing) and a revised strategy for increasing sports participation. 

"There are some tough messages here for national governing bodies,” said Sport England CEO Jennie Price.

"If they don’t grow participation we will reduce their funding, and we won’t make long term investments until we have confidence in their ability to deliver.

"This is exemplified by our new approach to basketball: increasing our investment to over £9 million, but reducing our reliance on the national governing body and investing more in community organisations with a strong track record of local delivery.”

The new funding approach for the six key sports has also been back by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCSM). 

"I want to see more people playing sport regularly and enjoying all the positive benefits that brings,” said Minister for Sport Helen Grant.

"So it is completely right that Sport England does not shirk from taking some tough decisions on how public money is spent. 

"I am encouraged that many sport governing bodies are upping their game to increase participation and we must not forget that 1.5 million more people are playing regular sport than in 2005, when we won the right to host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"But the message to under performing sports governing bodies is clear – if you can’t deliver, then funding will be taken away and given to projects and people that can.”

Around half of Sport England’s grant funding goes to specialist and local groups rather than to governing bodies, and the announcement includes a significant £6 million award to national sports charity StreetGames to continue delivering its Doorstep Sport Clubs programme. 

This funding is in addition to £3.38 million invested in 2013/14 and is recognition of the good progress the organisation has made over the last year, reaching its target of setting up 307 clubs and getting more young people from disadvantaged communities into sport.

For further details about the future funding agreements for the six sports, Click Here
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