Dave Brailsford, the head of British cycling, has backed calls for the introduction of a long-term funding package, as Team GB aim to improve on their most successful Olympics performance in a century.
Britain finished the Beijing Games with their biggest medal haul since the first London Olympics in 1908. But the British Olympic Association chairman, Colin Moynihan, fears the brains behind that success will be poached by high-paying rivals, unless a four-year funding package is put in place.
Brailsford has already been approached with job offers, after leading British cycling to eight gold medals. Moynihan faces opposition from UK Sport, the organisation responsible for dishing out the money, which plans to review each sport on an annual basis.
But Brailsford admits he may struggle to keep British cycling's management team intact, even with the recent multimillion-pound injection of sponsorship money from Sky. "We have the best coaches in the world and they are sought-after," Brailsford said. "I will struggle to hold on to all of them. It is one of those things you can't do on your own, so [the four-year package] would be a good idea."
Moynihan is confident he has Government support for a four-year funding plan to ensure key back-room staff remain on board. "It can't be done on a year-by-year basis. We have some of the very best in the world supporting Team GB," he said. "We cannot afford to lose any of them now. For many sports, we need to hire the best to come to Britain. I would very much like to hear the Prime Minister underwrite the funding for four years."