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British racing in crisis
Thursday January 21, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

The Olympics take place next month and the sports governing body, Snowsport GB, could go bankrupt and be placed into administration. PlanetSKI has been talking to the skiers, their support staff and Snowsport GB about the problems.

Snowsport GB had financial problems last year and now things appear to have got worse. Much worse.

Now it seems it may go bust as its bankers have withdrawn an overdraft facility and other backers have stopped funding the organisation.  It needs a cash injection of £200,000 according to media reports. We have been unable to verify that figure.

The credit cards of the coaches have been cancelled so they are having to pay for training, accomodation, food and travel out of their own pockets with no gaurantee that they will ever get it back. Some are out in the Alps undergoing final training and racing before the Winter Games.

PlanetSKI has spoken to one of the skiers who will hopefully be racing at the Olympics in February, but who prefers to reman annonymous for obvious reasons.

"Quite frankly it is crap.  All of us athletes are utterley fed up that the financial problems are over-shadowing the build-up to the Winter Olympics.  Many have been training all their sporting lives for this time and to be let down is disaterous. We are all pretty fed up. The coaches are in a terrible predicament as they may not get paid and yet want to suport us all."

One the members of the skier's supprt team goes even further.  "Snowsport GB is in a shambles and quite frankly if it went under at least we could start again from scratch and build something better.  It is a total disgrace."

Here on PlanetSKI we reported on the case last year, see here for the background to the current problems, but the organisation claimed it had solved the problems.

Now it seems that it hasn't.

We have contacted Snowsport GB and received this short statement.

“A route has been identified that could provide a potential solution to the Federation's current financial difficulties, enabling the organisation to avoid administration.  This is expected to be concluded in the coming days," says the official response.

However the organisation has not released any details of the rescue plan.

The British Olympic Association has said that it is working to ensure no athlete would miss the Olympics as a result of the financial crisis.

"The BOA's absolute priority is to do everything possible to ensure that the athletes are able to compete in the Vancouver Games as members of Team GB," BOA chief executive Andy Hunt said in a statement released to the media.

"We have developed a contingency plan and, should it become necessary to do so, will submit it to our board for consideration. We are in communication with the relevant team leaders and officials to reassure them that we are monitoring the situation closely and are doing everything we can to support them."

For more on the story see this report on the BBC.

Many athletes, including the skier Chemmy Alcott and the snowboarder Zoe Gillings, have had to fund much of their own training.

One of the team's main sponsors, Land Rover, is pulling out of major sponsorship and taking back it vehicles.  This though has been on the cards for some time.  However the racers and coaching staff out in the Alps will have to drive the vehilces back and may have to pay for petrol and ferry crossings out of their own poocket.

All in all it is a pretty sorry time for British ski and snowboard racing with the Olympics a matter of weeks away.  It will do no good to our cances of success.

It is a story we will follow later so do check back.

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