Sports body slams apathy of UK parties

The European Sports Consultants’ Association (ESCA) has accused the UK’s major political parties of lacking a “concrete commitment” to sport.

The body, which regulates the sports sponsorship industry, believes New Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are merely paying lip-service to sport in their General Election manifestos.

Nigel Curry, director of ESCA, says: “What has been outlined in the manifestos amounts to little more than a series of bland and rather obvious statements.

“The manifestos do not suggest to me that there will be a significant commitment to tackling the elements of our industry which badly need to be changed.”

The Conservatives devote just five paragraphs to sport, pledging lottery cash for elite athletes and encouraging private investment in grass-roots sport.

Labour’s main pledges include a first-class athletics stadium for the World Athletics Championships in 2005, and a new stadium for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The Liberal Democrats, who have covered sport for the first time in their manifesto, have committed themselves to community sports plans and developing sports in schools.

ESCA, which was formed in 1990, has put together a ten-point sponsorship manifesto. Among other things, they want to see the clarification of the laws and regulations relating to tobacco sponsorship and a commitment that within the next five years the UK will be awarded the rights to stage one of the world’s major sporting events.

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