Sports funding may face overhaul in bid to boost participation

Sport funding in Britain may be facing overhaul as ministers bid to get more people playing sports Credit: PA Wire

The way sports are funded in the UK could be facing change as ministers look at ways to get more people involved amid falling participation numbers.

It comes three years after the London 2012 Olympics provided a record boost in the number of people playing sports.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has today launched a public consultation into what can be done to increase access to sport in the UK after she vowed to "rip up" the old strategy last month.

The new strategy will also look at the money spent on Britain's elite athletes after the Government warned the increasing cost of funding success for Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes is "at odds with the current financial climate".

ITV News sports editor Steve Scott reports:

Ms Crouch told BBC Radio 5: "We're really lucky to have a healthy, wealthy and vibrant professional sporting environment (in Britain), but we know we need to see more investment in grass-roots sport.

"I think the funding of elite sport needs to continue as well. Elite sport is incredibly important and we know that investment in elite sport has helped us win gold medals at the Olympics."

Mo Farah celebrates at the 2012 Olympics Credit: PA Wire

Figures show the number of adults in England who failed to take part in any sporting activity each month has risen to 25.2 million from 23.6 million in 2012.

Swimming is still the country's most popular participation sport but has seen the biggest decline, with 144, 200 fewer people attending their local pool in the past six month.

Ms Crouch said participation levels are higher than they were in 2005, when Britain was awarded the Olympic Games, but that the numbers had shrunk since October 2012.

It comes after interim Labour leader Harriet Harman clashed with David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions over the issue last month, claiming the Government was "squandering" the Olympic legacy.

Ms Crouch said: "Sport has such a positive impact on people's lives and I want to embed participation into this nation's DNA.

"I want to make sure that the sports sector gives everybody - no matter who they are and what their ability - the chance to take part.

"However public funding is a privilege not a right and has to go to the organisations that can make a real difference."