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Page last updated at 19:16 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Grass-roots sport receives 480m

Chris Hoy
Chris Hoy was part of a decorated cycling team at the Beijing Olympics

Athletics and cycling have been given huge increases in grass-roots funding as part of Sport England's plans to get one million people more active by 2012.

The body has pledged 480m spread across 46 sports and has handed 14 sports, including handball and fencing, funding for the first time.

Athletics investment has more than tripled to 20.4m while cycling has doubled to more than 24.3m.

The funds are spread out over four years from 2009 to 2013.

Getting more people playing sport was a key factor in helping London win the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

Cricket: 37.8
Rugby Union: 30.7m
Rugby League: 29.4m
Tennis: 26.8m
Football: 25.6m
Cycling 24.3m
Swimming: 20.9m
Badminton: 20.8m
Athletics: 20.4m
Netball: 17.3m
Rowing: 9.1m

And according to results released last week from a Sport England survey of 191,000 people, the number of over-16s playing sport at least three times a week is now 6.8 million, 16.5% of the adult population.

But Sport England wants to increase that figure and amongst the sports to receive over 20m in funding, the British Tennis Foundation has pledged to double the 26.8m investment it will receive from Sport England.

Football, expectedly, is the biggest winner with more than 25m added to the 60m given to the Football Foundation which invests grants at grass-roots level.

Cricket, however, will only get a 3% increase of 1m - to 37.8m, but the England and Wales Cricket Board remains the governing body receiving the most cash.

Table tennis, which was frustrated by cutbacks to its elite programme when UK Sport announced its Olympic funding plans earlier in December, will see its funds slightly increase to 9.3m, up from 8.12m.

Other sports to win grass-roots funding for the first time include wheelchair basketball and taekwondo.

This will be a tough challenge, but with this huge investment in the broadest range of sports, we believe it can be done

Andy Burnham, secretary of state for culture, media and sport

Andy Burnham, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said the London Games provided the perfect chance to inspire people to take up sport.

Burnham said: "Ahead of 2012, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get more people participating regularly in sport. This will be a tough challenge, but with this huge investment in the broadest range of sports, we believe it can be done."

UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos said: "Sport England's investment into the grassroots of athletics now matches that of UK Sport into elite athletics, which is essential for the health and development of the sport.

"With this funding package, Sport England have soundly endorsed the shared vision and strategy of both UKA and England Athletics.

"I look forward to working with England on a shared strategy designed to improve the sport from all levels from junior clubs to internationals."

Mike Summers, chief executive of England Athletics, who will help allocate the sport's money, added: "It is great news that we will have 5m per year for each of the next four years.

"The money will now be delivered at the point where it will have maximum impact for the sport."

The rugby league fraternity were also pleased with the results use the cash to increase participation by developing alternative forms of the game such as tag rugby and creating more opportunities for over-35s and women.

The RFL has also detailed plans to further develop the game beyond its traditional heartland.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "With this level of this funding award, the RFL's 'Whole Sport Plan' has been recognised by Sport England for its robust and detailed nature and its high quality.

"The level of funding also reflects the confidence Sport England has in the RFL to deliver its objectives. This reputation has been earned by our collective efforts and achievements in recent years."

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see also
More people in sport, says survey
11 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Sports handed London 2012 budgets
03 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Sports call for stronger legacy
29 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Free swimming to be 2012 legacy
06 Jun 08 |  UK News
Sport England chairman quits job
29 Nov 07 |  Sport Homepage
Sport England announces huge cuts
15 Jul 03 |  Other sport...

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