Sports Politics: Government under attack

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The Independent Online
THE Government has backtracked on its plan to replace the Sports Council with two separate bodies in the autumn, Iain Sproat, the Heritage Minister, announced yesterday.

Under the Government's review of sport, published in 1991, it had planned to set up a Sports Council for England and a United Kingdom Sports Commission to replace the existing Sports Council of Great Britain on 1 October, but Sproat announced yesterday that new plans for the future administration and funding of sport were to be drawn up.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said that as detailed proposals for the two new bodies had emerged, it had become apparent that they were unlikely to deliver either the most effective or the most efficient service to British sport.

'We shall therefore be considering other options, with the Sports Council, with a view to announcing fresh proposals. In doing that work I shall have in mind the objective of maximising the expenditure that goes directly to sport rather than to administration, and the need for effective management of the new stream of income for sport which will follow the introduction of a national lottery,' he said.

The Sports Council gave a caustic response in a swiftly released statement. 'The Sports Council is disappointed but not surprised at the Government's change of policy,' the Council's statement read. 'The review proposed by Mr Sproat will be the seventh in the last five years, none of the conclusions of the previous six having been acted upon by government. It is therefore hardly surprising the Council will not be looking forward to another review with unqualified rapture. It should be noted that each of these reviews has added substantially to the administrative costs borne by the Sports Council.'