Inside Lines: Hugh Robertson the ideal candidate to lead BOA if Lord Coe moves on


The former Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson, who quit his new role as Minister of State at the Foreign Office in the Government reshuffle, seems certain to land a top job in sport should he decide to quit politics.

The 51-year-old MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, who is set to be knighted, has told The Independent on Sunday he is undecided whether to stand again at next year’s general election. He was surprisingly moved to the FO last October after an outstanding stint as sports minister during which he successfully oversaw the political aspects of London 2012.

Married with a young son, Robertson insists his decision is because he genuinely wants to spend more time with his family. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” he says. “However, my wife pointed out how little time I have spent at home in the last seven years, hardly ever a full week. So now is right time to have a think and take stock.”

While the dapper ex-Army major says he had “an exciting and busy” time at the Foreign Office, he confesses: “I really didn’t cater for the extent to which I would miss the world of sport and the people in it. That was where I was happiest.”

His successor as sports minister, Helen Grant, has had a shaky time but survived a reshuffle which saw women promoted rather than removed. However, there is speculation that the popular, soon-to-be Sir Hugh could be offered his old job back should he remain an MP and the Tories stay in office. If not, there is little doubt he would be interested in role in sports administration.

He would be an ideal replacement for his friend Lord Coe as chair of the British Olympic Association, a position Coe would almost certainly have to vacate should he become either the next chair of the BBC Trust or president of the International Association of Athletic Federations, two roles for which he is in the running.

Silly baskets

Sorry to keep harping on about it, but how big a ricket UK Sport made in fiscally emasculating basketball is further emphasised not just by the recent outstanding results from both men’s and women’s teams but the fact that prominent parliamentarians have called for a “radical rethink” of how the sport is funded.

Britain’s NBA star Luol Deng was among those who provided evidence of how of basketball can transform the lives of young people in deprived areas, but Sharon Hodgson, chair of the all-party Parliamentary Group for Basketball, says: “Unfortunately, the potential that basketball has to change many more lives is not being tapped into by Government. We need a radical rethink about how we fund sport in the UK.”

Quite. Just a sliver of the £7.5 million being handed out to those setting up GB’s America’s Cup team would make a huge difference to a grass-roots sport where all is definitely not plain sailing.

Round table for three

Ping pong history will be made when table tennis introduces an open-air version of the game, in which sides of three players compete over a round table. T3 Ping Pong will be demonstrated at London’s Parliament Hill Fields by six of the UK’s top players with the public free to have a go. Don’t be surprised if there’s a gatecrasher once London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, gets a whiff-whaff of the event.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas