British athletics is seeking a pounds 10m development grant to keep pace with other countries as campaigns get under way to bring the World Championships and Olympics to this country.
Peter Radford, the executive chairman of the British Athletic Federation, said yesterday that if the government could not provide the money, the rules of the National Lottery should be changed to allow a lump sum to be donated. "Other governments are pumping considerable sums into their athletic federations," he said. "We have to make sure that our athletes are not disadvantaged on their own territory."
The British Olympic Association has announced its intention to bid for the 2008 Olympics, and Radford is currently lobbying hard to bring the World Championships of 2001 to these shores. "They must come to Britain," he said. "We must show the world that we can and will do it. If we don't get support, we simply have good ideas that wither on the vine. But that is not going to happen."
Radford laid out a six-point plan for the season leading into next summer's Olympics. Contracts for athletes' payments would be sorted out far earlier, he said, in an effort to avoid the row with Linford Christie, Colin Jackson and John Regis which disfigured last season. He has already spoken to Christie and Jackson, and plans to set up a forum for athletes to voice their opinions to the BAF.
More flexible ticket pricing, involving discounts for family groups, is one of the initiatives aimed at increasing attendances in a domestic programme which will contain the same number of events as last year. Olympic selection policy will be announced on 8 November.
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