Sport England continues tough approach to sport delivery

26 March 2014

Trainers Content

Sport England is announcing today (27 March 2014) the outcome of its first Payment for Results review, which looks at the performance of the governing bodies it funds to increase the number of people playing sport.                    

Around half of Sport England’s total grant funding is invested in 46 national governing bodies (NGBs) to grow their sport. Under the Payment for Results process, their performance is reviewed annually to ensure they are delivering results and value for the public money they receive. Those failing to achieve annual targets risk losing up to 20 per cent of their future funding.

Based on the December Active People Survey participation numbers, 11 NGBs (which represent athletics, football, rugby union, rowing, badminton, cricket, equestrianism, golf, hockey, mountaineering and netball) were at risk of losing funding.

Today’s announcement means that Sport England is withdrawing a total of £2.8 million of funding from six NGBs (the Football Association, England Golf Partnership, England Netball, England Hockey, British Mountaineering Council and British Rowing) all of which have seen the  number of people who play their sport regularly fall. These NGBs need to make significant changes to their approach to growing their sport. Sport England will reinvest funds in the same sports, but outside the NGB.

Three NGBs (England and Wales Cricket Board, Badminton England and Rugby Football Union) have been put on notice that they must deliver growth by December 2014 or lose money next year. Although UK Athletics did not achieve its APS target in December, the number of people participating regularly increased and so no deduction has been made this year.  

Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, says: “I want these decisions to send a clear message to those NGBs who need to change. This year, we are removing up to 10 per cent of their future investment, and we will be working with them to improve their plans. I want to reassure people who play those sports that they won’t lose out – we will still fund them, but through other bodies, such as local authorities or charities.

Where we think NGBs are doing the right things to encourage people to play their sport – rugby, cricket and badminton – we are backing them by giving them another year to prove their plans can deliver results.”

Sport England is taking £1.6 million away from the Football Association (FA) because the number of people playing football regularly – once a week, every week – has dropped sharply. The FA has improved its insight into why people play football, but they now need to apply it, especially outside the traditional game, for example in the five a side market. Grassroots football remains one of our biggest participation sports, so we are looking to the FA to work on a bigger scale and at a faster pace.

Sport England will reinvest the £1.6 million to create a grassroots ‘City of Football’ – working in one place to create a whole range of new opportunities to encourage more people to play football regularly and sharing the insight with the FA to help it grow the game. We will be inviting bids from interested cities in April.

The England Golf Partnership is losing £496,000, with Sport England challenging the sport to take radical action to stop the continuing decline in the number of people playing golf regularly. The money will be reinvested in new partners who can show how to make golf quicker, cheaper and less formal.

Whilst numbers have been declining in cricket, badminton and rugby union over the last year, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Badminton England and the Rugby Football Union have all put in place strong plans to turn things around.

Those plans have been rigorously assessed, and we have good evidence they can deliver growth, so we are backing them with full funding for a further year. However, these three NGBs are being put ‘on notice’ that they need to grow the numbers of people playing their sport by December 2014, or they could lose 20 per cent of their future funding next year.

National governing body

Year 1 review outcome
(£’s taken from the national governing body to be reinvested elsewhere in the sport)

Football Association £1.6 million
England Golf Partnership £496,000
England Netball £275,000
British Rowing £236,000
England Hockey £137,000
British Mountaineering Council £97,000
Badminton England £0 (on notice)
England and Wales Cricket Board £0 (on notice)
Rugby Football Union £0 (on notice)
UK Athletics and England Athletics £0
British Equestrian Foundation £0