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Mixed reception for Crawford Report

Mixed reception for Crawford Report
November 18, 2009

Sporting leaders have expressed mixed sentiments in reaction to the Crawford Report into sports governance and funding.

Reuters reports that Australia Olympic Committee (AOC) Chairman John Coates hit out the panel which produced the Report, which had rejected calls by the AOC for more funding to keep the country in the top-five in the medals table at the London 2012 Olympics.

Coates stated "is he (Crawford) telling us that the gold medals won by the rowers and sailors in Beijing count for nothing?"

"The message I get from Crawford is that they're going to look at participation, and on that basis, some of our small sports, lower profile sports that have provided Olympic heroes in the past, I think they would be in the gun."

The AOC has requested an extra $100 million per year for the next three years, on top of its current $140 million budget. But the new report said the government should be concentrating more on funding popular sports like cricket, golf and football.

The Report suggests that "swimming, tennis, cricket, cycling, the football codes, netball, golf, hockey, basketball, surfing and surf lifesaving are among the most popular sports in Australia, a part of the national ethos.

"If we are truly interested in a preventative health agenda through sport, then much of it may be better spent on lifetime participants than almost all on a small group of elite athletes who will perform at that level for just a few years."

Basketball Australia (BA) Chief Executive Larry Sengstock has welcomed the Report and basketball being considered as a sport that contributes to the “national ethos”.

In BA statement, Sengstock states “with the cornerstone of the review based on the premise that the success of Australian sport should not only take into consideration our sporting achievements on the international stage but also measure the participation rates in community sport, basketball is meeting these criteria.

“Ranked number 3 in the world of 213 basketball-playing nations and with the Opals current women’s world champions, basketball boasts participation numbers that are the envy of other sports with more than 600,000 registered participants nationwide.”

The BA statement also suggests that tje combination of Australian basketball’s international success as well as its strength at community level that Sengstock believes puts the sport he administers in good stead.

“We were certainly relieved to see that there will be no reduction in funding to elite sport or the sport sector as a whole.

“Winning three medals from the four teams we sent to Beijing, we are obviously a strong sport at the elite level and have achieved great things in the international arena, but we are also very strong at the grassroots level in Australia.

“Some of the recommendations will no doubt inspire some earnest debate allowing the (Federal Sports) Minister to then frame her response appropriately.”


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