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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 11:12 UK

Funding axed for Great Britain's Olympic volleyballers


Volleyball women pedalling European dream

Public funding for Great Britain's women's volleyball team and men's beach team will cease from 1 October, leaving their London 2012 hopes in doubt.

Training programmes could be shelved, jeopardising the team's chances.

The women have already begun seeking funding from sponsorship and commercial sources and the men may follow suit.

"We want to help all those people active in our volleyball programmes," said British Volleyball Federation president Richard Callicott.

The Great Britain volleyball programme is the largest of any team sport and consists of indoor volleyball for both men and women, beach volleyball for men and women, and Paralympic volleyball for men and women.

It is obviously difficult to register our shock and disappointment after three years of phenomenal progress

Audrey Cooper, head coach of GB women's volleyball

All six teams have automatic host-country qualification for the London Games, as laid down by the respective international federations the International Volleyball Federation and World Volleyball Organisation for the Disabled.

In February 2009 British volleyball chiefs said the sport faced "extreme challenges" because of pre-Olympic funding cuts by UK Sport.

Volleyball was one of eight sports that had its London 2012 funding slashed because of a £50m budget shortfall.

British Volleyball, the game's governing body, saw its pre-Beijing 2008 budget of £4.3m slashed to £2.2m for the years up to the London Olympics.

As a result it has decided to concentrate its available budget on the men's indoor volleyball, women's beach volleyball and sitting volleyball programmes.

Great Britain's women volleyballers recently embarked on a 272-mile bike ride to raise £250,000 to keep their Olympic dreams alive.

"It is obviously difficult to register our shock and disappointment after three years of phenomenal progress," said Audrey Cooper, head coach of Great Britain women's volleyball.

"However, will we give up - no. We have a group of determined and resilient athletes and staff, as proved by our recent highly successful profile raising cycle ride from Sheffield to London.

"We will assess what this means for us and look for a solution."

Liz Nicholl, chief operating officer at UK Sport, added: "For the London Games, UK Sport has invested record sums in volleyball, with over £4m supporting the Olympic and Paralympic programmes.

"The decision made today by the BVF board maximises the support for those teams with the greatest performance potential."

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see also
Key sports organisations to merge
26 Jul 10 |  Sport Homepage
GB volleyballers seek 2012 funds
24 Jul 10 |  Volleyball
Slovakia end Britain's Euro hopes
28 May 10 |  Volleyball
Olympic budget cut by 27m
24 May 10 |  London
Volleyball chiefs angered by cuts
13 Feb 09 |  Olympics
Olympic sports hit by funding cut
29 Jan 09 |  Olympics
GB volleyball boost for Sheffield
01 Dec 09 |  Volleyball
GB name beach volleyball coaches
18 Dec 06 |  Volleyball

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