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


APPENDIX 29

Memorandum submitted by UK Sport

INTRODUCTION

  1.  This submission briefly describes the first 15 months of UK Sport as a Lottery Distributor and looks forward to the funding needs of the next Olympic cycle to 2004.

  2.  UK Sport (the business name of the UK Sports Council), chaired by Sir Rodney Walker, became a Lottery Distributor in its own right on 1 July 1999, as a result of The National Lottery etc Act 1993 (Amendment of Section 23) Order 1999 laid before Parliament on 9 June 1999. The amendment allocated 9.2 per cent of Lottery income earmarked for Sport for distribution by the United Kingdom Sports Council, by "top slicing" the percentage received by each of the four home country Sports Councils.

  3.  UK Sport took responsibility for a major part of the World Class Performance Programme which made its first revenue awards in May 1997 and targets Lottery funding at the United Kingdom's most talented and successful sportsmen and women to help them attain sporting excellence on the world stage. The programme focuses on the pursuit of medals in Olympic, Paralympic and other significant world championships in which the United Kingdom is achieving or is likely to achieve international success.

  4.  UK Sport also took responsibility for a World Class Events Programme which provides Lottery funding to applicants to bid for and stage major events judged as of significance to the United Kingdom.

  5.  World Class Performance Programme applications are considered by an independent UK Wards panel which makes recommendations to the UK Sports Council for approval. World Class Event Programme applications are considered by an independent Major Events Steering Group which also makes recommendations to the UK Sports Council for approval.

INVESTMENT TO DATE

  6.  In the three-year period leading up to the Olympic Games over £60 million of Lottery funding has been invested in the World Class Performance Programme, split between Programme awards to the Governing Bodies, and subsistence (now known as athlete personal awards) awards direct to the athletes. Since 1 July 1999, £1.6 million per annum has been committed to the UK Sport World Class Events Programme to support such events as the Rugby League World Cup and the World Track Cycling Championships in Manchester, both of which are staged in October.

ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

  7.  Great Britain and Northern Ireland has just enjoyed its most successful Olympic performance since 1920, when it won 11 gold medals in Sydney, and finished 10th in the medal table, as below.

  8.  At the Paralympic Games in October, Britain is aiming for a top-three place in the medal table, an improvement on Atlanta when Britain finished fourth with 39 gold medals. (The final result for Britain is second in the medal table and 41 gold medals have been won).

SYDNEY FINAL MEDAL TABLE

  
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
1 USA: United States of America
39
25
33
97
2 RUS: Russian Federation
32
28
28
88
3 CHN: People's Republic of China
28
16
15
59
4 AUS: Australia
16
25
17
58
5 GER: Germany
14
17
26
57
6 FRA: France
13
14
11
38
7 ITA: Italy
13
8
13
34
8 NED: Netherlands
12
9
4
25
9 CUB: Cuba
11
11
7
29
10 GBR: Great Britain
11
10
7
28
11 ROM: Romania
11
6
9
26
12 KOR: Korea
8
9
11
28
13 HUN: Hungary
8
6
3
17
14 POL: Poland
6
5
3
14
15 JPN: Japan
5
8
5
18
16 BUL: Bulgaria
5
6
2
13
17 GRE: Greece
4
6
3
13
18 SWE: Sweden
4
5
3
12
19 NOR: Norway
4
3
3
10
20 ETH: Ethiopia
4
1
3
8


  9.  The above nations all won four or more gold medals.

THE SUCCESS OF UK SPORT FUNDED ATHLETES

  10.  In total, 49 athletes who were included on the UK Sport funded World Class Performance Programme won an individual or team medal at the Sydney Olympics. Of these, just five were "means tested" out from receiving any athlete personal award, because their income as "professional" athletes negated the need for Lottery funding. They still benefited from the Programme award to the Governing Body. Some £1.7 million of Lottery funding went direct to the medal winning athletes over their period on the World Class Performance Programme. Nearly all of them came on the Programme in 1997 and 1998 and have received Lottery support for two years or more. This does not take into account the Paralympians whose medal haul will be significantly higher. About 43 athletes who competed in Sydney for UK Sport funded sports were not included on the World Class Performance Programme.

  11.  At Appendix 1[38] is a breakdown of achievements against targets set by Governing Bodies across all Olympic sports. UK Sport funded individuals on Archery and Taekwondo by the use of Exchequer funding as there was not an approved World Class Performance Plan in place. Badminton, Boxing, Hockey, Men's Artistic on Gymnastics, Shooting, Table Tennis and Weightlifting are currently funded by the home country Sports Councils and not by the UK Sport Lottery Fund.

THE RESPONSE OF GOVERNMENT

  12.  Following a meeting of the Sports Cabinet on 6 October, the Government moved to allay fears that Lottery funding to the World Class Performance Programme would be cut post-Sydney. Funding to the programme had increased from £13.7 million three years ago to £36.2 million this year. The Secretary of State, Chris Smith was quoted as saying:

  13.  "We have clearly seen the effect our World Class Performance Programmes have had and we must make sure this continues."

  14.  "The spending has grown over the last three years and we have pledged to match the highest level of that, which is effectively £36.2 million."

  15.  "The announcement we have made and those from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown recently confirm the Government is pledged to ensuring the success of our sports people."

  16.  "Our performances in the Olympics show we are catching up on our rivals and that is a very positive sign."

  17.  On 19 October, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of Dr Jack Cunningham MP to head a review panel examining how our top athletes are supported by Lottery funding. The Government has now agreed to commit at least £100 million over the next four years to the World Class Performance Programme. The Sports Cabinet also concluded that a high level urgent inquiry into the operations of the World Class Performance Programme is needed to ensure that the extra money is spent efficiently and effectively, and, secondly, to link the findings into the development of the UK Sports Institute. A copy of the press release is at Appendix 2*.


WHO RECEIVES THE FUNDING?

  18.  Support is targeted at athletes with medal potential who are, broadly speaking, ranked within the top 20 in the world. Athletes below this level are supported through home country Sports Council or Governing Body funding.

  19.  Around 730 athletes, named on the World Class Performance Programme by the Governing Bodies, are currently eligible to receive personal awards to contribute to living and sporting costs. This enables many of them to take leave of absence from employment to benefit from periods of intensive training. A contribution of £1,000 towards education costs is also available within an athlete award to encourage athletes to continue their personal development alongside their training. The maximum award is £27,000 while the average is £10-12,000. Awards are means tested to ensure that the funding reaches those athletes in most need.

  20.  World Class Performance Programmes in 24 Olympic and Paralympic sports are currently funded. Awards are made to the Governing Bodies of sport. Programmes vary in size and sophistication depending on the number of athletes being served. They cover, for example, the appointment of Performance Directors, world class coaches, sports science and medicine specialists and training and competition costs at home and overseas.

HOW MUCH IS AVAILABLE FOR DISTRIBUTION?

  21,  UK Sport receives 9.2 per cent of the Lottery sports fund for distribution. An additional £5 million was "inherited" by UK Sport from the home country Sports Councils. This had been earmarked for UK level Governing Body Awards but had not been "spent" as at 1 July 1999.

  22.  As has been stated, in the three-year period preceding the Sydney Games, a total of £60 million was distributed.

  23.  This included £25 million distributed in the year leading up to the Olympics as more Governing Bodies submitted applications in support of athletes that were equally deserving of support. This included several Paralympic sport applications, which were successfully included in the World Class Performance Programme for the first time. It was always felt that Olympic year would be the most demanding on the resources available and it was fortuitous that UK Sport was able to take advantage of this under-spend to allocate £25 million in awards predominately in support of Olympic and Paralympic athletes

WHAT WILL HAPPEN POST-OLYMPICS?

  24.  Post-Olympic and Paralympic performance reviews are scheduled for every sport from late October through to December 2000. This will include athlete reviews and programme reviews.

  25.  Future award decisions will be directed in support of those athletes (nominated by governing bodies) as having demonstrated the potential for medal winning performances in the period up to and including the next Olympics in 2004. Recent performances in the Olympics against targets give an indication of the realism of the target setting by Governing body personnel and the level of risk in the investment.

FUTURE LOTTERY FUNDING

  26.  UK Sport has welcomed the statement by the Secretary of State that Lottery funding for the World Class Performance Programme will be maintained at current levels, and the subsequent confirmation that £100 million will be committed over the next four years to the World Class Performance Programme. UK Sport is in discussion with officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as to how this can be achieved.

  27.  Lottery funding is volatile and dependent on the number of tickets bought by the general public. As such the level of income available for distribution cannot be guaranteed. Current Lottery income projections issued every six months by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport indicate that net Lottery income will drop over the next Olympic cycle. The Department issue "low", "medium", and "high" scenario projections of income. The experience of UK Sport is that the "low scenario" most closely matches the actual income it receives.

  28.  UK Sport is proceeding on the basis that it will have £25 million per annum to allocate to the World Class Performance Programme from 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2005.

SPORT AS A "GOOD CAUSE"

  29.  UK Sport is convinced that elite sport must remain a recipient of revenue Lottery funding, not for its own ends, but to support the efforts of British sportsmen and women to achieve the pinnacle of their individual and team abilities. As UK Sport only funds the top 20 or so sports people in the world in the sports it funds, the achievement of sporting excellence will often demonstrate itself in medals won, and Finals made.

  30.  The Government has already announced initiatives for school sport, which is where many future champions are first identified and nurtured. It is essential that Lottery funding continues to support each step up the ladder of success. UK Sport is tasked with helping sport deliver the ultimate sporting targets.

  31.  The 2004 Olympics provides the extra challenge of at least maintaining the success achieved at Sydney with a largely new set of athletes who are demonstrating the potential to succeed in four years time. The Paralympians have already set themselves the ultimate challenge of being the leading nation in medals won at the 2004 Paralympics, and are currently nearing the end of a very successful 2000 Paralympics. UK Sport requires the right level of Lottery income to help elite British sport turn their aspirations into a reality. The level of funding is by no means the sole criterion of success, but the experience of Sydney has confirmed that for many athletes, Lottery funding has meant the difference between competing honourably, and competing and winning medals.

  32.  The recent success at the Sydney Olympics gave the whole nation a "feel good" factor and produced very positive publicity for the National Lottery, at a time when Britain is perceived as being relatively unsuccessful in some of its major spectator sports.

  33.  The Committee is requested to add its weight to supporting the mission of UK Sport to help athletes and coaches maintain and improve the position of British sport at Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship level by the maintenance and enhancement of the allocation of revenue Lottery funding to elite sport.

October 2000


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