Changes Ahead for British Sports

The Telegraph is running an interesting series on the decline of England’s sports infrastructure. Rod Gilmour on the causes and consequences:

Cash-strapped local authorities and private owners are selling off facilities with alarming ease. Multi-sports centres are either being turned into housing or the ‘multi’ is being tossed out and replaced by ‘well-being’ centres. Sporting provisions just aren’t being cared for.

The Government can’t allow this to happen. There are simply too many consequences: rising obesity levels, knife crime in depressed communities and families travelling miles to find their nearest facility. And what about the future of Britain’s sporting talent?

And that’s to say nothing of the fact that England will host the 2012 Summer Olympics and aspires to host the 2018 World Cup. The outcry–genuine in many instances, ginned up in others–has led the Conservative Party to seize the issue and draw up a plan that they call “the most detailed look at sports policy ever undertaken in opposition.” The tenets:

We are then faced with the three main areas of sport to tackle: school, community and elite sport. Working from the bottom up, it is crucial children are inspired to go into sport from an early age as habits learnt early tend to remain for the rest of their lives. In that context, the decline in competitive sports caused by left wing education and social policies has been a disaster. Conservatives want to reinvigorate competitive sport at school through inter-school fixtures and an Olympic type competition. Every child must have access to opportunities in education, health and social development available through sport. We plan to deliver this through an emphasis on primary school provision and school club links.

In the elite sector, we have exciting plans to develop a world class sports events agreement to attract major global sports events to this country. Using elite sport to inspire the grassroots we must crucially bring clarity to the sports legacy objectives that we seek to deliver from the London 2012 Olympics.

The 2009-10 general election in the U.K. figures to be a tight one. Perhaps sports will play a surprisingly large role in the outcome?

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