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Call for sports funding increase
There needs to be a radical reform of sports policy and a major increase in Government funding to build on the success of Team GB at the London Games, the head of the British Olympic Association has said.
Chairman Lord Moynihan, a former sports minister under Margaret Thatcher, accused the current and previous governments of "treading water" in terms of increasing participation and claimed school sport policy is "bureaucratic" and needs more money to fund a major expansion.
He said: "There is a need for radical reform and I am calling for more money. There needs to be a total commitment to ensuring a sports participation legacy that has to focus on schools and clubs. For seven years successive governments have been treading water. We have tens of thousands of kids watching great moments which will live with them for ever. The Government should step up to the mark."
Lord Moynihan said children should be given the chance to try minority Olympic sports such as handball, and primary schools helped to provide more sporting opportunities. Sport England's focus is on improving participation in the 14-24 age group.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said there was "a limited window of opportunity" to seize the day in terms of building on the success of the British team but that he believed the Prime Minister David Cameron recognised this.
Labour's former sports minister Richard Caborn accused Lord Moynihan of "rewriting history" by overlooking the contribution to this year's crop of Olympic medals of the state investment in sport.
"We did invest very heavily in sport under the Blair administration," said Mr Caborn. "The success now in the Olympics is a result of the investment we put into UK sports. Moynihan shouldn't be rewriting history, he should be reflecting on what we did over the last decade to get us to where we are now. He is not acknowledging the work that was put in over the last decade. We put money into school sports and we invested money in elite sport and UK Sport. That has got us where we are."
A Government spokesman said: "We are completely committed to creating a lasting sports legacy from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We have in place a £1 billion, five year youth sport strategy that will increase opportunities for young people to get involved in sport.
"We are improving community facilities up and down the country and protecting playing fields to improve the sporting experience for all. The School Games competition is rejuvenating competitive sport in schools with over 13,000 schools signed up.
"Since the London Olympic bid was won in 2005 over one million more people are playing sport at least once a week but we want to go further. The Olympics is shining a spotlight on sport in this country like never before and we want to make the most of that. We want to create a culture where people play sport for life."