Major lauds lottery for financial support of sport

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The Independent Online
Sports Politics

John Major believes the national lottery will help raise sporting standards in Britain. The day after England lost a cricket Test series to South Africa - and the day before an estimated pounds 33m jackpot is on offer - the Prime Minister hit back at critics of the lottery and pinpointed sport as one of the main benefactors.

Asked on BBC1's Breakfast News yesterday about the difficulties that the lottery is going through, Major said: "I hear a lot about these difficulties, I don't hear the talk of difficulties from the clubs that have got a new cricket net or a new rugby pitch."

Major stressed that the Government would not be able to provide sport with the same level of financial support: "If I was suddenly to suggest that the Exchequer should provide another pounds 300m a year for sport, from what expenditure programmes would that come out of?"

Major still wants the establishment of a national academy of sport and rejects the British Olympic Association's suggestion for regional centres instead.

Asked whether legislation was needed to protect sporting events still with terrestrial TV channels from being taken over by satellite stations, Major said: "It is an interesting debate and it's one under consideration, but no conclusions have been reached."