Inside Lines: Sport may dance to new tune but it still takes two to quango
Sunday 12 July 2009
There are worried frowns among employees of UK Sport and Sport England after a pledge by David Cameron that the Tories would scrap or slim down Britain's proliferation of quangos if they win the next election. However, the two Government-backed sports bodies seem safe – relatively speaking. Shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson says it makes "little sense" to undertake any major restructuring in advance of London 2012 which might disrupt athlete preparation. But this does not mean there would not be changes under a Conservative government which would take a serious look at administrative costs and, particularly in the case of Sport England, the employment of consultants and expenditure on surveys which runs into millions. "We would want to ensure the maximum amount of money heads towards the front line," says Robertson. It is also likely the two bodies would be brought together under one roof, while retaining their separate identities, both as an economy measure and "to deliver a fully joined-up sports structure". So it will still take two to quango.
Below the belt
Is someone trying to sabotage Amir Khan's world-title fight with Andreas Kotelnik next Saturday? Following erroneous internet reports that the Ukrainian was again pulling out and would be replaced by former British lightweight champion John Murray, "Cancelled" stickers have mysteriously appeared over posters advertising Frank Warren's MEN promotion in Manchester, which features Enzo Maccarinelli and Britain's former Olympians as well. "I have a good idea who is responsible," says a furious Warren. For the record, the fight is on and Kotelnik will meet fans at the Ukrainian Centre in Bolton today.
The family way
This is a good time in sport for brothers – and sisters. We have the Klitschkos ruling the heavyweight roost, the Williams girls whacking everyone out of sight at Wimbledon and, at the other end of the sporting scale, Britain's Brownlee brothers, Jonathan and Alistair, who will be at the triathlon World Championships in Hyde Park next month – the first testing of a 2012 venue. Jonathan, 19, won gold in the European Junior Championships last week while Alistair, 21, took silver in the senior event. Keeping it in the family, too, are Britain's golfing Saltmans, Elliot and Lloyd, who have become the first brothers to qualify for The Open since Seve and Manuel Ballesteros 26 years ago.
Witt to woo
The Germans hope that their former skating star Katarina Witt can do a Seb Coe and help Munich get the 2018 Winter Games. The two-time Olympic gold medallist – once described as sex on skates – is to chair the bid committee with the aim of making Munich the first city to host both summer and winter Games. No doubt she will charm the male-dominated International Olympic Committee as well as she did the rinkside judges. Further evidence that this business needs a woman's touch comes with the appointment of multi-lingual Giselle Davies, former IOC communications chief and daughter of ex-Beeb man Barry, to head a new company looking into whether Dubai should go for the 2020 Games.
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