Britain’s Olympics athletes face a £100m funding shortfall for the 2012 Games after government attempts to appeal to employers’ sense of corporate social responsibility fell on deaf ears.
Despite Team GB achieving 13 golds in Beijing so far, the athletes face budget cuts over the next four years in several sports, including athletics, judo and even swimming – the sport where Rebecca Adlington scored two golds for the UK – because government officials cannot raise enough money to fund training.
Prime minister Gordon Brown promised when he was chancellor in 2006 to pump £600m into the London Games preparation effort, with £300m coming from lottery funding and £200m from the taxpayer.
The extra £100m was expected to come from the private sector, but The Times reported today that sports sponsorship and fundraising teams appointed by culture secretary Andy Burnham had failed to raise extra funds – partly because of the economic slowdown is affecting business profits.
The lack of funding will have a negative impact on all of the sports competing in four years time.
Hugh Robertson, the shadow sports minister, told The Times: “It is vital that UK Sport gets that money now or elite programmes will be cut in the run-up to London 2012, and that is ridiculous.”
Brown is expected to resolve the issue this week when he attends the Olympics’ closing ceremony.