Rowing: UK Sport at the centre of funding fight

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Representatives of the universities will take on GB Rowing's funding policy for top-level performers at the Amateur Rowing Association council on Saturday.

The issue centres on how far the pressure to win medals impinges upon the higher education of athletes. The Cambridge Blues Kieran West and Tom James have had their lottery grants halved because they cannot join the national squad until after April's Boat Race. The opposite has occurred at Oxford, where the international Tom Parker has decided to stay with the British squad instead of rowing in the Boat Race.

Richard Phelps, who is the spokesman for council members representing universities, says: "This is not about West and James, or the Boat Race against the national squad. What we are concerned about is what UK Sport is doing to our athletes."