SPORT ENGLAND BACKPEDALS ON CHANGES TO ITS SPORTING POLICY
Sport England (SE) appears to have bowed to pressure from British Cycling (BC) and other lobbyists to re-include recreational cycling in its definition of sport.
Documents received from a reader’s private enquiry into Sport England’s recent U-turn on sporting funding policy, revealed that SE no longer intends to exclude recreational cycling from its sporting funding policy, and that its definition of sport will remain the same for 2008.
James Purnell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “This new focus for Sport England does not signal a shift away from community sport. In practice this means that [SE] will measure sport and some physical activity, for example recreational walking and cycling. “
He continued: “This broad definition will send the message clear that everyone should be active; help provide continuity as the definition will continue and reflect the reality of local level provision where sport and physical activity join seamlessly.”
Chief Executive of BC Peter King is meeting next Wednesday with Jennie Price, the CEO of SE and Paul Heron, the top civil servant involved in the issue to discuss the issue, and is “optimistic” about cycling’s prospects. King is adamant that the key to success with SE is to convince them that BC’s ‘Everyday Cycling’ programme is an integral part of their sport’s development strategy, and should receive funding.
King said: “It’s partly about securing the best funding package possible from Sport England, but we also want to raise cycling’s profile to the highest level in all relevant government departments.”