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Sports strategy: Industry reaction to new vision for sport and physical activity

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The first government review on sport strategy in a decade included a number of initiatives which will have ramifications for the sport and physical activity sector.

Sport England saw its remit broadened to focus on participation from five-years-olds upwards; there was an emphasis on social value and good governance; renewed focus on widening physical activity; while the Premier League was told it had to contribute more to grassroots football.

Sports Management brings you reaction from the world of sport and physical activity.

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive

“We are delighted that the strategy recognises the excellence of the high performance system and we accept the responsibility to find ways to widen the reach of our ‘what it takes to win’ approach and share some of the expertise that exists within Olympic and Paralympic sports, while not diluting our focus on medal success.

“The proposed new governance code is very timely. We know that there is a strong correlation between good leadership and governance and the success of a business and there has never been a more important time to ensure the integrity of sport.”

Jennie Price, Sport England chief executive

"Today is a really important milestone for grassroots sport in England. We welcome the government’s increased focus on using sport for social good, and are very much looking forward to developing more programmes and campaigns that tackle head on the issues that stop so many people being active.

“Our priority now is to work with a range of partners to develop our plans to put this strategy into practice. I’m committed to improving the way people experience sport and physical activity in this country.”

Emma Boggis, Sport and Recreation Alliance chief executive

“The strategy is an important and welcome step forward on a number of fronts. We particularly welcome the emphasis on the social value of sport which all our members deliver week in week out from the grassroots game to elite performance.

“It is good to see the strategy reflects the benefits of outdoor recreation, the importance of good governance, and the contribution made by the Voluntary Code on Broadcasting. The outcome of the spending review and the content of the strategy are both good news for the sector.”

Steven Ward, ukactive executive director

“The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has taken the right approach with developing this strategy and there are clear and promising signs that physical activity in its broadest sense is now the key issue for government.

“We must ensure the focus on inactivity is relentless, and there is still so much more to be done. There is a role for everyone to play and ukactive looks forward to working with DCMS and Sport England in the coming years to get more people, more active, more often and welcomes the central role our Chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, will be playing in its implementation.”

Tara Dillon, CIMSPA chief executive

"The clear remit from government for CIMSPA to develop and implement a single, clear and rigorous set of standards for all sport and exercise professionals brings clarity to the sector and is recognition of the work we have done to create an employer-led professional body to take the industry forward.

"Better trained physical activity sector staff will lead to greater participation levels and more medals at elite level. We will now work with Sport England and all our partners to kick off a number of initiatives and projects in the new year to ensure sector qualifications for levels 1 to 9 are fit-for-purpose and produce the talent needed to turn the tide on physical activity."

Andy Reed, Sports Think Tank co-founder

“We broadly welcome the new thrust to recognise the social impact of sport and to move away from the simplistic Active People Survey, and welcome the shift on getting the least active and underrepresented groups more active.

“Some areas of concern were not fully addressed – cuts in local government spending and the cuts to the Public Health budgets which will hamper the delivery of some of the ambitions in this document.”

Clive Efford MP, shadow sports minister

“We have wasted five years going backwards because this Government attacked the very foundations on which a coherent sport strategy should have been built.

"Whilst we welcome the emphasis on local planning and the role of local government, there are big concerns that the impact of the Government’s cuts to council budgets will have on the facilities and resources needed to implement this strategy.

“A long-term sports plan is essential to bringing about the changes needed. We need to take the people who dedicate their lives to sport with us on this journey. They need to know that this is about enhancing their role – not undermining what they give to sport through their activities. Without these volunteers the strategy will fail.”

Ruth Holdaway, Women in Sport chief executive

“Women in Sport is delighted to see that the Government has listened to us in this consultation and has made a clear commitment to a cross-departmental approach to sport. It’s also positive to see Sport England’s remit expanded to address sport for children aged five and up as well as adults.”

Ian Ritchie, Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive

“The benefits of team sport like rugby extend well beyond exercise and we welcome that the added social, educational, and community cohesion benefits, amongst many others, will be recognised in future plans.”

A Football Association (FA) spokesperson

“We share the objectives set out and we look forward to understanding the plans in more detail and working in partnership with the government to deliver them.”

To see the full Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation report, click here.

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The first government review on sport strategy in a decade included a number of initiatives which will have ramifications for the sport and physical activity sector.
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