UK Sport: Scrapping funding body could mean more cash says athletics boss

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Dame Katherine Grainger 'not surprised' by 11 sports opposing UK Sport funding

The country's sporting bodies could receive more money if funding organisation UK Sport was abolished, UK Athletics boss Ed Warner says.

The outgoing chairman believes its role could be taken on by Britain's Olympic and Paralympic organisations.

A similar system, where sport governing bodies handle funding, is in place in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

"You might be able to get rid of loads of overheads," Warner said.

His comments came on the day 11 unfunded sports issued a joint manifesto calling on UK Sport to reform the way it distributes cash.

The body was set up in 1997 to allocate National Lottery money to sports and since its inception Great Britain has become a medal powerhouse at Olympic and Paralympic Games - the nation came second in the medal table at both events in Rio last year.

However, the organisation has come under scrutiny in recent months following a series of allegations of bullying cultures within some sporting organisations.

That is because its funding model is based on medal success, leading to claims it has effectively fuelled a 'win at all costs' mentality in some sports to the detriment of others.

For example, an independent inquiry into British Cycling published earlier this month found there was a "culture of fear" in the organisation - an organisation that has delivered scores of medals since 2000 and been feted as one of British sport's greatest success stories.

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"If you put everything on the table, why don't you tear up UK Sport and embrace the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association as the deliverers of the high-performance funding?" Warner said.

"Why would it need to exist if you had a BOA and BPA that were structured in the right way? You might be able to get rid of loads of overheads."

Dame Katherine Grainger, the former Olympic rower who is the new chair of UK Sport, this week told BBC Sport she shared concerns over athlete welfare and was "not surprised" the 11 sports had called for a review.

She said there would be a review of how money is allocated, but added: "As more sports are more successful, the irony is that the money can't go as far.

"If there is anything that can be cut, but not at the expense of success, then it will be."

Some sports issued support for UK Sport and Grainger in the wake of the reform call. A British Equestrian Federation spokesperson pointed out UK Sport was facing reduced National Lottery income as well as increased medal success, adding: "Quite simply there is not enough to go round.

"Any further fragmentation of funding would diminish medal prospects and unsettle athletes when sports are already almost a quarter of the way through the Tokyo funding cycle. We welcome Dame Katherine Grainger's current resolve not to put a winning formula at risk."

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said "there is absolutely no plan to abolish UK Sport", pointing out it had "helped deliver unprecedented Olympic and Paralympic success over the last decade".

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