Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 08:10 UK

Sport participation 'in decline'

Chris Hoy
Despite a decline in participation elite athletes are exceeding expectations

Fewer adults are taking part in sport and official targets for children's physical activity are not being met, according to a report.

Audit Scotland research highlighted the decline, particularly in the Glasgow area, five years before the Commonwealth Games come to the city.

Despite the drop, the report noted that the development and performance of so-called elite athletes had improved.

It also said the games could lead to a boost in participation in sport.

Improve facilities

The report said "significant amounts of national funding" had been targeted at two priorities - increasing participation in sport, and developing Scotland's elite athletes.

"Performance in these areas is mixed," it said while stressing that the participation of young people in sport had declined.

The Scottish Government wants all primary schools to offer two hours of physical activity for all children each week - but figures from 2005 show that 5% of primary schools were meeting the provision.

The report also said that on average 49% of adults in Scotland took part in sport once a week in 2001 but the figure had dropped to 42% by 2006.

The 26-page document, A Performance Overview of Sport in Scotland, said about 558m of public money is spent on sport each year.

The report warned there was no national strategy for the 110m it said was needed annually to bring sports facilities "up to standard".

Sports minister Stewart Maxwell
Stewart Maxwell said the government was already taking steps

Robert Black, auditor general for Scotland, said the 2014 games provided an "excellent opportunity" to promote sporting activity.

The report broke down sport participation by council area, based on figures from 2004.

Glasgow was at the bottom of the table at 34% participation.

Moray topped the league at 65%, with Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Stirlingshire scoring among the highest levels.

Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell said the government was already taking steps to improve participation, deliver modern facilities and improve elite performance.

He said the recent allocation of 5m to help Aberdeen City Council provide a 50-metre swimming pool and 1m to help refurbish the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh underlined the government's commitment.

Mr Maxwell said there was a "clearly defined" national strategy for sport and added that 16 councils now had "sports strategies".

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie MSP urged the government to capitalise on the Commonwealth Games to inspire people to be more active.




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