Inside Lines: A question of trust as Baroness Sue becomes a very cross bencher
Sunday 24 October 2010
With sport forced to bite the bullet like almost everything else after the Comprehensive Spending Review, the redoubtable Baroness Sue Campbell, who wears two sporting executive hats, finds herself in a dilemma. Government quango UK Sport, which she chairs, reacted philosophically to a 28 per cent reduction in Exchequer funding – "a positive outcome in difficult times" – whereas, in her other role chairing the Youth Sport Trust, she is "devastated" by the swingeing £160m cut to the schools PE and sport budget, thus abolishing 450 school sport partnerships and making the YST, which she helped establish, virtually redundant. She claims it will "decimate" grass-roots programmes introduced for school sport over the past decade and directly contradicts the legacy promises made by Lord Coe when the 2012 Olympic bid was won. The bold Baroness, made a peer by the previous Government, is notably left-leaning but sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher – now a very cross bencher. Both Sport England and the British Olympic Association have noted that sacrifices need to be made but Campbell must wonder if the YST is being sacrificed for political expediency – especially as one of New Labour's babies, the UK School Games is to be supplanted by the UK Schools Olympics introduced by the Coalition. I doubt it, as sports minister Hugh Robertson has so far shown himself to be fair-minded and done his best to protect sport's interests under pressure from on high. At least there are sighs of relief that it wasn't 2012; the £9.3bn Games budget remained untouched.
Chisora held in suspense
Usually fighters like training camps to be in warmer climes but Dereck Chisora strangely elected to prepare for his world heavyweight title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko at army barracks at Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. "That is," says his promoter Frank Warren, "if it is still there after the defence cuts." And that is if Chisora is still around after being sentenced next month for an assault to which he pleaded guilty. This carries a possible six-month sentence. Warren believes it won't come to that but Chisora is likely to be hauled up before boxing's Board of Control, who take a dim view of boxers getting involved in incidents outside the ring. They could suspend him, as they did after he bit an opponent's ear. Klitschko has warned: "Don't do that to me. Anyway, you'll be too busy kissing my glove."
Folks who'll live on the hill
Thanks to those who came up with suggestions for the Henman Hill-like spot which, as revealed last week, is planned outside the Olympic Stadium. Among those we like: Sebastian Heights, Boris's Brae, Kelly's Knoll, Redgrave Rise and Pinsent's Peak. Though boo to the sceptic who reckons it should be known as Coe's Folly.
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