Fundraising for Olympic hopefuls draws blank

Fast Track, the sports marketing agency, has so far failed raise any funds from commercial sponsors to back potential Olympic athletes. It is understood the Government is poised to allocate rescue funding to plug the £100m gap.

UK Sport, the body that funds elite athletes, admitted today (June 26) that nothing had been raised towards the £100m it had hoped to receive from commercial sources as part of a £600m agreement to help train British athletes between Beijing 2008 Olympics and London 2012.

A deal was struck with the Treasury in 2006 where it was agreed a five-year £600m package would compose of £300m from the National Lottery, £200m from the Treasury and £100m from the private sector.

Fast Track, the agency founded by former Olympic athlete Alan Pascoe, was appointed earlier this year to find backers from the private sector, but it is understood the tough economic climate has meant it has yet to secure a single deal.

It is believed the Department of Media Culture and Sport is prepared to step in and pay the first tranche of £20m, which is due shortly. This would allow UK Sport to allocate grants straight after Beijing Games.

A DCMS spokesman says it is “completely committed” to backing British athletes and is “examining options” with Fast Track to raise the £100m. The spokesman added that the DCMS had not placed a timeframe on raising the cash and was “still working on it”.

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