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Monday June 4, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Do you want a say in how the UK's elite winter athletes are funded in future? Now's your chance. Change may be a-coming. NEW & UPDATED

A national consultation has been launched to help decide on a new funding strategy for GB's potential winter and summer Olympians.

UK Sport is asking for views on its future investment principles and how best to inspire the nation through success at the top level of sport.

The high-performance agency invests £100m of National Lottery and government money into top-level sport each year.

Its current approach is to allocate money according to Olympic medal potential which has proved successful in terms of delivering medals, but it's also come in for fierce criticism.

GB snowsports athletes at Pyeongchang OlympicsGB snowsports athletes in Pyeongchang - photo Aimee Fuller

UK Sport says any changes will come into force from April 2021, after the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

The first time winter sports will be affected by any change in strategy will be after the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The next four-year round of winter sports funding (2018-2022) is due to be set and announced in July this year.

Members of the public, along with stakeholders in national governing bodies, grassroots sport and athletes, politicians and the media are being invited to take part in the three-month-long consultation before the decisions are taken later this year.

Details of the strategy are expected to be announced in early 2019.

"Participants will be asked to make the tough choices," UK Sport says, "and consider the ultimate consequences of these choices with what in reality will always be a limited pot of public funding for high performance sport in the UK."

Questions to be considered include:
  • How sports and athletes are prioritised for future investment, whether that is athletes with the strongest medal potential regardless of whether they are Olympic or Paralympic, summer or winter
  • Sports with the greatest public access to participation or those with the widest social reach and impact
  • How to ensure there continues to be parity given to Paralympic as well as Olympic sport; summer and winter
  • How best to utilise funded athletes as community and national role models; how to balance support for lesser-funded minority or developing sports with funding for those with larger commercial potential
  • Whether to target other sports beyond the Olympic and Paralympic stable.
Dame Katherine GraingerDame Katherine Grainger

"The success of the UK's high performance sport system since the advent of National Lottery funding in the 1990s has been nothing short of remarkable," says the UK Sport Chair, Dame Katherine Grainger.

"The challenge now is how we build on that success, aiming for even more inspirational impact on the UK as a whole.

"Financially there will always be a limit to the public funding available, whether that is National Lottery or exchequer funding and so that means there are no easy answers when it comes to decisions.

"What is clear is that the UK Sport Board and I do not come at this with any preconceived conclusions other than that we believe in the power and inspiration of British sport.

"We look forward to receiving people's views and welcome what we hope will be a lively, respectful and worthwhile debate."

The consultation period remains open until 19th August.

Any member of the public can take part by completing an online survey here.

MAIN PHOTO:  Snowboard Big Air bronze medallist Billy Morgan, by Andy J Ryan/Team GB

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