Olympic sports could face big cuts

July 28, 2010

A UK Government spending review this Autumn could lead to at least half of Britain’s Olympic sports having their funding cut before the London 2012 Games, it is reported.

The director of performance at UK Sport, Peter Keen, has said he would be willing to divert money from 50 per cent of the country’s sporting bodies to athletes who have a more realistic chance of success at the 2012 Games.

Keen said: “Like all publicly funded organisations, we’ll soon hear our budget. You must remember that our London mission was funded by a dramatic increase in exchequer funding, not Lottery funding. But we’re dependent on exchequer funding that will be determined in the Autumn.

“With any reasonable budget we will give the backing [prospective medal-winning] athletes deserve. And so if that means we can only fund half the sports, then that’s all we can do.What we really don’t want is to dilute our commitment to excellence.”

Keen revealed the sports that could take priority were cycling, athletics, rowing, sailing and swimming.

He added: “My ultimate loyalty is to elite sport. I learned early on that if you compromise, if you don’t look the monster in the eye, you invariably fail. If you distribute money to the point where you are spreading it so thinly then you’re not recognising a key point: that to do it properly does cost.”