Coronavirus: Assurances given to British Olympic, Paralympic bosses

PUBLISHED: 18:54 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:54 03 July 2020

A general view of the Olympic rings near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

A general view of the Olympic rings near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

PA Wire/PA Images

British Olympic and Paralympic sports governing bodies have been given assurances over their short and longer-term financial future.

Associations whose income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access an emergency fund to be administered by UK Sport, while the government has also offered assurances that funding will be in place to help athletes prepare properly for the rescheduled Tokyo Games in the summer of 2021.

The continuity fund, understood to be worth £5million, has been set up by UK Sport to tackle the acute needs of governing bodies.

The elite sports funding body has received government approval to utilise a National Lottery underwrite scheme to access the money.

It has also received assurance from Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), over its funding programme for 2021-22.

UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday said: “Today’s confirmation of support for Olympic and Paralympic sport through to the rescheduled Tokyo Games is hugely important as it allows national governing bodies to commit to their revised plans for the Games next summer.

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“The new continuity fund will help in our efforts to maintain and enable a thriving high-performance sporting system in the UK.

“Via this fund we will be able to provide additional investment to support those organisations in greatest need and help enable continued operation during these challenging times. The fund opened today, and we hope to be in a position to make awards shortly.”

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “In this time of uncertainty, we are right behind our elite athletes. Recent Olympic and Paralympic Games have proven that their performances make the country proud, promote the best of the UK abroad and help to inspire a more healthy, active nation.

“I know our athletes had worked so hard to be in peak condition this month, so I’m very pleased to provide assurance to UK Sport and give athletes the opportunity to compete, realise their medal potential and shine when the Tokyo Games take place in 2021.”

UK Sport’s existing Exchequer funding runs until the end of March 2021, which would have been the end of the financial year which included the Tokyo Games.

DCMS says it will work to ensure the necessary funding is in place for the financial year 21-22 when discussions take place with the Treasury in the autumn regarding the government’s comprehensive spending review.

Dowden wrote in a letter to UK Sport: “I am happy to restate this government’s strong commitment to Olympic and Paralympic sport and will do all I can to facilitate a suitable settlement for UK Sport to ensure that we continue to support our inspirational athletes and give them the maximum opportunity for success at a world-class level as they prepare for Tokyo.”

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