Inside Lines: Price is right as minister decides it no longer takes two to quango
Sunday 01 August 2010
Sport seems to be in a state of shock following the announcement of the new Government plans to synergise the quangos UK Sport and Sport England by bringing them together in an umbrella body which will also include the Youth Sports Trust, who have responsibility for schools sport. Why? We revealed it in this column months ago and it was in the Conservative Party manifesto, as the Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, points out. But the UK Sport chair, Baroness Sue Campbell, says the merger goes further than she expected and warns of inherent risks. Yet it has long been apparent that the administration of British sport has been unwieldy, with a certain amount of duplication. This should tidy things up and save money, while leaving UK Sport's role relatively undiminished, as Robertson thinks they have done a good job in funding and supporting the nation's elite athletes. But Sport England's function has become less relevant over the years, and needs revamping, though the chief executive, Jenny Price, has impressed enough to be in pole position to replace her opposite number on UK Sport, John Steele, who joins the RFU next month.
On your bike, Jacques
Now we know what Boris Johnson keeps in his jacket pocket: bicycle clips, which he whipped out to do a somewhat wobbly circuit at the new Olympic Velodrome last week. He didn't quite show Sir Chris Hoy a clean pair of wheels, but it may have helped impart the message that he wants to make London the cycling capital of the world. It might also have been a hint to Jacques Rogge and all those Olympic bigwigs who will have limos and dedicated Olympic lanes to whizz them from their five-star Park Lane hotels to London's East End that they could contribute to 2012's enforced economy drive by doing the same. Some chance. But Games planners need give no more thought to who lights the Olympic flame on 27 July. It has to be Bojo on his bike.
Tour de force
Talking of pedal power, let's hear it for a dozen young lads from Kingston in Surrey who have just completed a 1,066-mile cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in memory of one of their former schoolmates, Dan Kenn, an all-round sportsman who died when he fell into a diabetic coma aged 20 while on a gap year in Australia 18 months ago. It took 11 days, battling storms in Scotland so fierce the wind almost blew them off their bikes. So far they have raised £18,000 and aim to pass their £20,000 target at a charity day at Harlequins on 2 October. (For more details: justgiving.com/cyclefordan).
Yes they Khan
With the Klitschkos not making Haye and Mayweather versus Pacquiao unlikely to happen until next year – if ever – boxing needs a blockbuster. Which is why Ricky Hatton's application to renew his boxing licence suggests a worrying showdown with Amir Khan may yet materialise.
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