UK Sport cash boost fails to please critics

The Government has been accused of failing to keep its promise to British sport, by leaving it £50m short of funding for elite athletes in the build-up to London 2012.

On Tuesday (December 2), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport secured an extra £29m from the Treasury, reducing its funding shortfall for UK Sport – which allocates spend to elite athletes – to £50m.

The money came at the eleventh hour for many British sports, which are still facing harsh cuts in financing, details of which will be announced this week.

Shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson says: “This still falls £50m short of what the Government unconditionally promised sport that it would get two years ago. It will have a clear effect on London 2012.”

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman, adds: “The current shortfall is a real blow for Team GB’s prospects at London 2012 and the sporting legacy of the games.”

The £29m bail-out implies the Government has accepted it is unable to raise the £100m from the private sector it had planned to when it made its funding promise in 2006.

The much-touted Medal Hopes scheme, announced by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham in August, has yet to materialise and despite appointing sports agency Fast Track in June, the Government has yet to raise a single penny from commercial deals.

Foster says: “Despite repeated warnings, ministers have failed to come up with a strategy for attracting private investment for elite sport.”

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