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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Friday, 12 November 2010

Cash cuts warning for Welsh sport

By Graham Thomas
BBC Sport Wales

Welsh sports have been warned they are in for tough times ahead because of anticipated cuts in funding.

With Sport England facing reductions of 33%, the chair of Sport Wales - says successful sports will be the ones more likely to escape the worst.

Sport Wales - formerly the Sports Council for Wales - currently receives an annual income of £35m.

Of that, £26m comes from the Welsh Assembly Government with a further £9m from the National Lottery.

But those figures are set to alter after the Welsh Assembly Government outlines its draft budget proposals next week.

Sport Wales chair, Prof. Laura McAllister said: "We appreciate that times are going to be incredibly tough for all of us who work with public funding.

"But I think it's about working smarter and working more cleverly - making sure that we make good use of facilities that are underused at the moment.

"That would be school and club facilities, particularly linking up schools with clubs and so on."

Last month Wales won 19 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in sports mainly funded through the public purse.

But Sport Wales has a wide-ranging brief and is also responsible for increasing sports participation numbers in communities, as well as for the elite end of competition.

Sports such as cycling and swimming have an impressive recent track record in both Wales and the UK. They are the types of sports that may find it easier to gain continued funding in what will become an increasingly competitive market.

McAllister added: "We've made it very clear to all concerned that our job is to really focus resources where governing bodies can deliver results.

"They will be under pressure, in the same way that we are under pressure to deliver results for the government and for the people of Wales.

"So I don't think there should be any great surprises there, but it is important that we invest in sports that have a systematic structure for delivering success at medal and podium stage.

"That's exactly how the world of elite sport operates, so I don't think there will be any surprises for any of the staff themselves."

One sport funded at grassroots level is football, which receives £1.8m a year from public coffers, administered by the Welsh Football Trust.

Trust chief executive Neil Ward said: "A small cut in funding is one we could possibly absorb, but that would obviously hit our expansion plans and we are keen to push forward with all the good work we are doing, offering more opportunities for girls, for boys and for the disabled.

"It would mean we would have to query where we proportion our funding and take some tough decisions about what we do."

For more see Sport Wales, BBC TWO Wales, Friday 1900 GMT

see also
Sport Wales: The TV Programme
15 Mar 11 |  Wales
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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