London

Assembly committee warns about sports before Olympics

Crowds celebrating after London won race to host Olympics
Image caption A key legacy of the 2012 Olympics is to encourage more Londoners to get involved in sport

Getting more Londoners involved in sport before the Olympics is an "uphill struggle", the London Assembly's sports committee has said.

In a new report, it warned organisers to be "realistic" about the challenge they face in the run-up to the 2012 Games.

The committee said it was too soon to judge whether Mayor Boris Johnson's £15m Sports Fund had been effective.

The mayor's office said the money was helping to build a "fantastic legacy".

In its report, the Assembly's Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism (EDCST) committee said the mayor's cash injection was "relatively little" given the scale of public spending cuts - but that it was potentially powerful in helping to plug gaps in provision.

'Exciting projects'

But the committee called on Mr Johnson to do more work to help grass-roots sports clubs link their projects with the Games.

Chairman Len Duvall said: "We'd all like to see more people involved in sports but we have to be realistic about the scale of the challenge.

"£15m is relatively little compared to the amount spent by national and local government, but it has the potential to give the mayor a say in the big decisions about sports provision."

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said the mayor was determined to help deliver a sporting legacy for London.

"Working with sporting organisations across London we are on course to build a fantastic legacy from the Games and are pleased the assembly recognises the progress we are making.

"Over £5m has already been awarded to 35 exciting sports projects across the capital, 1,500 Londoners are already training to become sports coaches and an extra 10,000 people a week will be getting active from the 12 sporting facilities funded by our programme to date."

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