Today’s Government announcement of the merger of sports funding agencies UK Sport and Sport England, has received a mixed welcome from sports administrators, many of whom look to UK Sport’s record of delivering sporting success in the past decade.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, confirmed that he will go ahead with the plans outlined in the Conservative manifesto.
The announcement comes just as London Olympic organisers are about to mark two years to go to the start of the 2012 Games.
Baroness Campbell, chair of UK Sport, issued this statement:
“The news that the Department is planning to merge UK Sport with Sport England goes further than we had previously expected.
“What is crucial now is that all sides engaged in this decision understand not only the issues but also the risks involved in such a move. We will as always play our part in seeking the best solution for sport and seeking to make the delivery system as efficient as possible.
“But equally we are very aware not only of the existing effectiveness of our operation but the incredible strides we have taken in high performance sport over the past decade, and the significant progress made in developing a system that is not only delivering results like those seen in Beijing but also making the UK the envy of the sporting world.
“With London 2012 on the horizon, it is vital that we continue to build on this and don’t distract preparations for home nation success in two year’s time.”
□ UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade.
UK Sport supports the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s British Sports Awards.
The SJA Annual Sports Awards are the longest established of their kind in the United Kingdom, having been first staged in 1949.