UK Sport launches public consultation on the future funding of elite sport

UK Sport has launched an open public consultation on its future investment principles and how best to inspire the nation through elite success. The consultation was today launched to the media via an interactive panel debate with voices from the high performance system past and present.

The high performance funding agency is asking for views on how it best allocates its National Lottery and taxpayer funding post the Tokyo Games with the new funding strategy due to come into effect from April 2021. Members of the public, along with stakeholders in national governing bodies, grassroots sport and athletes, politicians and the media will be invited to take part ahead of decisions to be made later this year.

Following record breaking medal hauls in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games – and with British teams on track to achieve more medals from more medallists in Tokyo 2020 – respondents will be asked to consider how to build on this success and meet the Government’s ambitious vision in its Sports Strategy of using high performance sport to promote inspiration, participation, economic growth and social impacts such as on physical and mental health in society.

Questions to be considered include:

  • How sports and athletes are prioritised for future investment, whether that is athletes with the strongest medal potential regardless of whether they are Olympic or Paralympic, summer or winter
  • Sports with the greatest public access to participation or those with the widest social reach and impact
  • How to ensure there continues to be parity given to Paralympic as well as Olympic sport; summer and winter
  • How best to utilise funded athletes as community and national role models; how to balance support for lesser-funded minority or developing sports with funding for those with larger commercial potential
  • Whether to target other sports beyond the Olympic and Paralympic stable.

Participants will be asked to make the tough choices and consider the ultimate consequences of these choices with what in reality will always be a limited pot of public funding for high performance sport in the UK.

UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger said:

“The success of the UK’s high performance sport system since the advent of National Lottery funding in the 1990s has been nothing short of remarkable. The challenge now is how we build on that success, aiming for even more inspirational impact on the UK as a whole. Financially there will always be a limit to the public funding available, whether that is National Lottery or exchequer funding and so that means there are no easy answers when it comes to decisions. What is clear is that the UK Sport Board and I do not come at this with any preconceived conclusions other than that we believe in the power and inspiration of British sport. We look forward to receiving people’s views and welcome what we hope will be a lively, respectful and worthwhile debate.”

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said:

“Our elite sport system has transformed Britain into an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse and it’s paramount that we build on this and continue to inspire future generations. I am pleased that UK Sport are going out to the public and stakeholders on how this can be achieved. I encourage everyone to share their views on what they want to see from the high performance sport system in this country and how money should be invested.”

The consultation is available here and the consultation process can be viewed here.

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