Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by The United Kingdom Sports Council—UK Sport


  1.  The United Kingdom Sports Council (UK Sport) was set up to improve the United Kingdom's record of international sporting success. Its stated aim is—in partnership with all those involved with sport in the United Kingdom—"to put the UK at the top of the world sport."

  2.  The Council's work is all geared towards supporting individual sports to achieve international success, developing and supporting a system capable of producing a constant flow of world class performers and extending the UK's influence in international sport. Ultimately this aim is to increase the prospects of attracting major sports events to the UK—thereby giving athletes and teams from the UK medal winning opportunities through the benefit of home advantage.

  3.  Across the world, nations are coming to understand the significance of hosting major sports events. Events offer these nations the potential to bring direct benefits across a broad range of sporting and governmental priorities and can act as a catalyst for the achievement of other related objectives. Among the many linked opportunities are programmes of preparation and competition for elite athletes, facility and sport development legacies, economic, tourism, social & cultural benefits and mechanisms to exert international influence. These factors were highlighted recently during the IRB Ruby World Cup in Wales.

  4.  Numerous major sporting events are held annually throughout the United Kingdom. The Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup were both staged during a highly successful year in 1999. In a few months time Wales will play host to the Rugby League World Cup, at venues in North, South and West Wales. Other recent events include the successful staging of the 2000 World Youth Netball Cup in Cardiff in July 2000. In January 2001, Cardiff will stage the Top Twelve Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships. These latter events have all received support from UK Sport's World Class Events programme.

  5.  UK Sport therefore welcomes the opportunity to inform the Committee of our strategic approach to the complex task of bidding for and staging major events and our interaction with numerous agencies in Wales to meet these objectives.


  6.  The UK Sport was established in 1997, with one of its primary tasks to;

    "promote the UK or any part of it as a venue for international sports events and to advise, encourage and assist bodies in staging or seeking to stage such events."

  7.  UK Sport is the only Sports Council specifically charged by Royal Charter with this task. The purpose is to create and ensure a central focus and point of reference for all bids;

    —  to encourage national governing bodies and local authorities to think more strategically before bidding to host events

    —  to link the bidding for and staging of events to an overall international strategy for the sport

    —  and support an overall strategy for the development of excellence

  8.  The UK Sport has been given a key role by government as the lead agency responsible for events. This means providing;

    —  advice on pre-event planning

    —  pre-bidding advice & business planning support

    —  Lottery funding and application advice

    —  staging advice & support

    —  research & evaluation

    —  and a variety of other support services

  9.  Within UK Sport, it is the International Relations and Major Events (IRME) Directorate that takes the events programme forward. IRME's remit includes a strong European dimension and ranges from International Federation Postholder support programmes to overseas development assistance and learning from overseas. All these activities provide additional tools to support the strategy for securing major events.


  10.  Following its establishment in 1997, UK Sport reviewed existing work on major events and undertook a comprehensive consultation exercise with key stakeholders. This consultation informed the development of the UK Policy and Strategy for Major Events, which will be published in early 1999. The Policy & Strategy will set out to ensure a "corporate" UK approach to all aspects of event planning & management and will require the committed support of the stakeholders in the UK event process.

  11.  The Policy & Strategy development process has been guided by over 90 experts from the world of major events and represents the views and aspirations of these key decision-makers.

  12.  It is clear from our consultation that the planning, bidding, staging and monitoring of events is viewed as a holistic process that requires close partnership in all aspects of event management and support between UK Sport and the four home country Sports Councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland.


  13.  UK Sport operates an independent World Class Events Programme using the revenue stream of the Lottery Sports Fund. Established in 1996 this programme offers funding to "one-off" international sporting events of world class standard. The major events supported are those defined as sports competitions of World, European or Commonwealth status. These are single sport or multi-sport events catering for all age groups and both able-bodied athletes and those with disabilities.

  14.  UK Sport is empowered as the primary lottery distributor for major events and the key strategic adviser to national governing bodies of sport and their partners when applying for support to bid for and stage an event through the World Class Events Programme. UK Sport has an annual Lottery budget of £1.6m to support events throughout the UK.

  15.  The decision whether to support an event in Wales is taken in close consultation with the Sports Council for Wales and the relevant local authority and/or public agency. Recommendations are based upon clear criteria that attempt to evaluate the importance of staging an event according to its;

    —  public profile

    —  financial viability of the event

    —  value to the development of sport and elite performance

    —  influence gained in the international arena

    —  technical quality and competence of event organisers

    —  and the associated economic, enviornmental, social & cultural benefits and costs.

  16.  Since UK Sport became a distributor of lottery funds for major events. In July 1999, it has granted support to three major events in Wales. These include:

    —  2000 World Youth Netball Championships - Cardiff £34,500

    —  2000 Rugby League World Cup - £350,000 (for whole of UK)

    —  2001 Commonwealth Top Twelve Table Tennis Championships £3,100

  Officers of UK Sport are currently working with a number of Welsh national governing bodies of sport to consider future bids for major world events through Wales in the forthcoming years. This process includes consultation with development advice to Welsh national governing bodies of sport, in association with the Sports Council for Wales.


  17.  The Major Events Steering Group is chaired by a member of the Council of UK Sport with expertise in major events. The members of the group have been chosen for their expertise and understanding of the key issues and areas of activity involved in all aspects of event management. Members come from a range of appropriate backgrounds including the business world, the media, the legal profession, the broadcasting industry, local government and athletes themselves. The Sports Council for Wales nominated Lynne Evans (MBE) to serve as a member of the group, recognising her expertise in this area of work.

  18.  The MESG acts as the "one-stop shop" for event advice and support. It steers the major events strategy, assesses the value of bids for World Class Event support, refers, liaises and sources experts and other teams and individuals for technical advice. The MESG guides UK Sport's priorities for levels of support for events and resources.


  19.  To assist with the planning process and the determination of funding priorities, the UK Sport has recently written to national governing bodies of sport (including those in Wales) to encourage the development of draft strategies of events.

  20.  This will be followed by the process of sport-by-sport event strategy development to clarify priorities for each individual sport in Wales and across the UK. The strategy development process for events will be linked closely to facility utilisation, the sports development continuum and most importantly to the performance development planning for elite athletes within each sport.


  21.  Our consultations have confirmed the need to assist event organisers with a range of support services. A number of these services are already in place and range from business planning, to legal and insurance advice, access to information and database sources, guidance notes, event calendars, bid documents, flags, anthems, and accreditation equipment. The World Youth Netball Championships in Cardiff recently benefited from a whole range of these services.

  22.  UK Sport is developing a partnership approach to co-ordinating the delivery of these services, with agencies experienced both in organising sports events in Wales. UK Sport has placed a strong emphasis on identifying the appropriate agency to deliver advice, education, training and seminars to feedback event bidding and management experiences throughout sport. These partners include the Sports Council for Wales, the Wales Tourist Board, local authorities, other public agencies and expert individuals.

  23.  The scope of this support and training is intended to extend to those International Federation Postholders supported by the UKSC. The Council recognises the importance of raising the international reputation and knowledge base of all UK Postholders, and will focus on the influence Postholders can have on the decision making processes linked to major events. UK Sport are working actively with a number of Welsh national governing bodies of sport to further their aims and objectives in the wider world of sport. These bodies currently include Welsh curling, hockey, judo, netball and table-tennis.

  24.  International Relations involve a number of different activities including promoting UK sporting expertise overseas and providing expert advice on sports development. UK Sport works closely with a number of partners to deliver a variety of projects across the globe. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Council are two of our closest partners.

  25.  UK Sport is committed to developing its relationships with Wales in this area of work as a major part of a co-ordinated strategy to promote sport in the UK overseas and attract inward sports investment.


  26.  As a body with a remit to serve the whole of the United Kingdom, UK Sport is committed to assisting the bidding for and delivery of major events throughout Wales. In order to understand the specific requirements of Wales and its objectives for staging major events, UK Sport will continue to work closely with the Sports Council for Wales and other Welsh agencies to promote Wales and its tradition of sporting excellence throughout the UK and overseas.

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Prepared 27 March 2001