Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 16

Memorandum submitted by the Central Council of Physical Recreation

1.  INTRODUCTION

  The CCPR is please to re-submit views to the Select Committee as to the importance of Staging International Events in the United Kingdom. The annual "summer of British Sport" is a customary adage used by journalists to describe the various prestigious international events from cricket at Lords to tennis at Wimbledon. Combined with the winter season, which includes international and European Club Rugby, International Soccer Fixtures at both European and Club level Britain has a track record for staging major events successfully that is a source of envy to many countries.

  Such is the global interest in sport nowadays there are many who suggest not more but less events should be brought to the country. Nevertheless there is a temptation for sports governing bodies, both small and large, to host such events since they bring in welcome revenue for the economy, stimulates British sportsmen and women to excel and spread the gospel of sport to the general public.

2.  THE GOVERNMENT'S SPORTS STRATEGY

  The Sports Strategy A Sporting Future for All supports the view that the governing bodies are in the business of running sport. The strategy whilst giving scant reference to this important subject is mindful to encourage working partnerships between national governing bodies, clubs and local authorities. Such a relationship is to be welcomed and particularly the need for local authorities to assist the governing bodies with their limited staff and finances in the running of such international events.

  It is important that an audit of, and strategy for, national competition facilities of international competition is undertaken. Without such a strategy it will be difficult for Government to determine the potential for international events that can be supported for the benefit of the nation.

3.  FUNDING EVENTS

  The funding and promotion of international events is a time consuming and costly business. Most sports bodies have little chance of securing them with the limited funds currently available from Government or the Sports Lottery. During 1999 most sports governing bodies that hosted national and international events found it difficult to attract sponsors. For example, the 1999 British Open Squash Championship was cancelled because of a lack of funds.

  As a consequence of the proposed EU Directive to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship, sports are faced with the prospect of the withdrawal of funding by the Tobacco Industry in 2006. The sports affected are yet to find replacement sponsors. Any further proposals for an EU ban on sponsorship by the alcohol industry would be resisted since this could damage the staging of international events and domestic competitions.

  Even more crucial is the difficulty faced by many sports governing bodies in securing television coverage. Sport wonders if public broadcasters should have a requirement to assist.

  Independent research jointly managed by the CCPR and the Institute of Sports Sponsorship (ISS) through the Sports Sponsorship Advisory Service (SSAS) with part funding by Sport England concluded that middle ranking sports fail to attract sponsors because they are not seen as "sexy" to sponsors nor are they good at marketing themselves. For this reason, the SSAS runs training programmes for the "middle ranking sports" in order to give advice on good practice with shared experiences. This model may be expanded to include a skills exchange programme with the governing bodies and the commercial sector.

  The principal problem of the sports bodies is the TV production cost. Without TV exposure it is difficult to attract sponsors or to increase awareness of the sport. The suggestion for a dedicated sports channel on the BBC would receive support from many sports governing bodies. It is important to attract good audiences for sports events whilst acknowledging that digital TV will assist in due course. Terrestrial TV will continue to be perceived as important by commercial companies. At present the SSAS is holding initial negotiations with a TV production company to explore the feasibility of producing low cost coverage of productions for international events to be staged during 2001.

  The appointment of the Minister for Events within the Cabinet The Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP is a welcomed by many sports bodies. However, the Government structure whereby four separate Home Country Sport Ministers could be seeking to bid for an international event cannot assist the UK in improving its influence and reputation on the world stage. Overseas countries such as South Africa and Canada have a Minister of Sport with Cabinet rank and can directly influence Government policy.

4.  INTERNATIONAL POSTHOLDERS

  In order to be successful in bidding for events it is crucial that our national representatives are able to influence the decision making process within the International Sports Federations. It is unlikely they will be able to achieve this objective until such time as they have established their reputation within the International Body. Hence the availability, the knowledge and the reputation of international representatives are paramount in mounting a successful bid. To achieve success the selection and training of postholders is becoming increasingly important, as is the funding to train them and to position them within the International Sports Federations. Currently many delegates and postholders are required to pay either all or some of these expenses, which they may or may not be able to recover from the limited resources of their governing body. In addition to training it is also important to attend meetings, key events and conferences. To network in sport is no different from other aspects of life. To influence Britain's position on the world stage is a right that must be earned.

5.  SPORTS VIEW

  There is a view that the UK no longer exerts the same influence in International Sports Federations as previously.

  In order to be successful in bidding for events it is crucial that our national representatives are able to influence the decision making process within the International Sports Federations. It is unlikely they will be able to achieve this objective until such time as they have established their reputation within the International body. Hence the availability, the knowledge and the reputation of international representatives are paramount in mounting a successful bid.

  Sport is of the view that by the staging of events whether large or small brings immense benefit to the local economy. The example of the World Fishing Championships at Dover in 1998 showed how an investment of £22,000 brought in £350,000 to the local economy. Equally the 1999 Network Q Rally at Cheltenham is reputed to have brought in £11 million.

  In order to achieve these objectives sport and the Government need to work in partnership, to invest in people, to set goals and to monitor results. A strategic overview of facilities and events is required, as this would help those National Governing Bodies that are able to attract events to this country.

  The staging of events is expensive and exacerbated by the tax that is levied on the governing bodies that manage such events. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

6.  RECOMENDATIONS

  6.1  Tax write-off for staging of international events that was provided to the British Film Industry in 1997.

  6.2  The Lottery needs to establish a budget for the payment of TV production costs for the small events. Encourage the showing of sports events on public television.

  6.3  Expansion of the International Postholders' Funding to enhance existing training programmes. To provide guidance on sports sponsorship matters and the training of post holders. Succession planning and a clear international strategy to be at the heart of this work.

  6.4  A Strategy for UK Sports facilities to host international sports events to be developed and funded by Lottery.

  6.5  Greater support from the British Embassies and the High Commissions to assist governing bodies in marketing their events.

  6.6  Encourage the increased support for international events with Local Authorities through the economic argument. The DETR should consider the importance of such international events when reviewing its PPG17 Sport and Recreation Guidance Note.

November 2000


 
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