Hockey: England appeal for more cash

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The Independent Online

Still smarting after the funding cuts imposed on the sport, England Hockey has decided to make an immediate appeal to Sport England - the body responsible for the cuts - for additional funding and to secure the release of a £500,000 reserve.

Still smarting after the funding cuts imposed on the sport, England Hockey has decided to make an immediate appeal to Sport England - the body responsible for the cuts - for additional funding and to secure the release of a £500,000 reserve.

With total direct funding reduced from £3.85m to £1.8m, it looks as if the élite side of hockey will have to manage on roughly £1m, forcing the performance unit to operate at a very reduced level with the senior squads entering one major tournament a year. Consequently staffing levels and support costs will have to be cut back. The reduced levels must be achieved by the end of this month.

Jason Lee, the men's chief coach, said yesterday: "The difficult time will be whilst we change to fit the new funding parameters, but I know that hockey in England is strong, the players are committed and the future can still be bright."

The grass root activities of the sport will get £500,000 a year and will need to seek additional sources of income to top this up to maintain the current spending levels which are being reviewed. No redundancies have been planned thus far to cut costs.

Meanwhile, a full National League programme is planned for this weekend. Reading, following a disastrous weekend by their standards, losing their first League game of the season last Saturday to Canterbury and then being knocked out of the Cup on Sunday by Loughborough Students, will be looking to get back on course with a visit to Chelmsford. In the women's First Division, Ipswich should at least hold their top spot when they host the Harleston Magpies.

With the leagues being reorganised for next season into four divisions of 10 teams each just about every game still has importance. This is a fact that will not be missed by several of the men's leading clubs who will be without their England players for the last three fixtures after Easter.

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