Thursday, December 9, 2010

British wheelchair curling funding cut in half *UPDATED*

The BBC reports that British Government funding through UK Sport for Olympic and Paralympic programs, while showing an overall increase, has concentrated on sports where there is the best likelihood of medals. Wheelchair curling has had its funding reduced from UKP 450,000 (C$ 711,000) to UKP 223,000 (C$ 356,000).

British performances have fallen below expectations at the last Worlds and Paralympics, and that disappointment is demonstrated in the 48% reduction in funding over the next four years. That is not to say that additional funds would not be made available if the team started appearing on the podium again, as a major source of funding comes from the National Lottery, which has recently generated higher than expected revenue.

The Scots squad that makes up the British team were generously funded as full time athletes leading up to the Paralympics. It will be interesting to see how this reduction affects the team's performance and what areas; financial support, travel, training courses, international competition, will be cut.

Read the BBC report for full details.

UPDATE: An anonymous blog commentator cites cites a post on the RCC website that British curling will receive £2,288,900 from UK Sport for the period between now and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, which "more than doubles the funding British Curling received in the previous four-year cycle."

That does not contradict the BBC report that funding for wheelchair curling has been slashed.

Gerry Peckham, Canada's National Program Director, said news of the cut, if true, was "Tragic news for such a strong wheelchair curling Nation."

As for Canada, he said, "We have maintained our funding level subsequent to 2010 which is fabulous considering there are no more sponsor dollars coming our way [winter sport] via VANOC. The challenge for curling has always been to ensure we get our fair share of the funding pie. Our biggest road block is the fact that as a sport we only account for 3 medals total."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

his could be a good test of your theory of funding for competition vs grassroots. If GB does well in the next couple of years, than maybe excess competitve funding is for naught.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know where Canada's funding is at relative to pre-2010?

Eric Eales said...

I do have a suspicion that coaching programs expand to consume all available resources. While I won't argue that less is better than more, I do wonder at what point resources cease to add value.

Winning gold in Vancouver was treated as a matter or life and death by Canada. Was it the money poured into the program that won gold?

What is certain is that Scotland were very well financed, and had, with the huge exception of Frank Duffy at skip, almost the same team that were an inch from gold at Torino.

My feeling is that the edge Canada gains through Jim Armstrong's experience at skip, far outweighs the camps and the trips and the consultants that devour the funding money. Put Armstrong at skip in Scotland, or Norway or Korea and they'd be favourites too, whatever their budget, provided their players put in the practice time on the ice.

What do others think?

Anonymous said...

British Curling is to receive a total funding award of £2,288,900 from UK Sport for the period between now and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014.

British Curling, which manages and develops elite curling in Britain, yesterday (Thursday, December 9) received notice of the funding allocation from UK Sport, the body responsible for investing public funds – from both the National Lottery and the Exchequer – in high performance sport.

The award more than doubles the funding British Curling received in the previous four-year cycle, and will fund the delivery of a performance programme for the sport during the current Olympic/Paralympic cycle, culminating in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Mike Gillespie, British Curling’s chairman elect, said: “We are delighted with the news of UK Sport’s funding award, which will help ensure British curlers can achieve their potential and continue to deliver medals on the world stage over the course of the next four years. Given the current economic backdrop, we recognise more than ever the responsibility that comes with this funding and the opportunity it gives us to further develop elite curling athletes in the UK.”

Dave Crosbee, British Curling’s newly appointed performance director, said: “This is a huge shot in the arm for the sport in the next four years, and is recognition of the consistently world-class results achieved by British curlers over the past four years. Working closely with our partners at Sportscotland and the home nation governing bodies, we can now start to develop the programmes that we hope will deliver sustained success over the coming years.”

Anonymous said...

I saw reports that said the fundung was incresaed substantially for the curling programs. Is your information accurate?

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree, Eric. Jim's presence on the ice itself can be intimidating to less experienced players. As you recall, even in his first worlds, when they were not playing particularly well, Jim ALWAYS had a shot with his last....not indicative of vintage wheelchair curling. Further, as he develops the remainder of Team Canasda, it will take them above the rest of the world, as well. On another front, what if Jim is tossed from out program? Would be interesting if he forsake Canada for a year or so, and showed up in Korea, Norway, GB, or wherever......

Anonymous said...

So, Eric, all over the World, funding is a function of success. Therefore, Canada's funding SHOULD be high, and SHOULD convert to competitive results.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what our budget is? How many staff are paid? We know the players are paid, but I am sure that wouldn't even be part of the WChC budget. How much is available for travel, camps, expenses? Is it more of less than last year in preparation for the Olympics? Willl the budget get clipped with no permormance as we approach Sochi?

Are thes numbers available to the public?

Would be very interesting to know.

Anonymous said...

I think that Jim is definitely the advantage that Canada has in the World. You cannot really learn strategy and things....it takes experience, and that takes time, years of time.

Anonymous said...

Can you find out the size of Canada's WC budget, and how it is to be spent? Would be an interesting topic, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Knowing the size of the budget now, without Vanoc would be very interesting. Does it relate to performance as Sochi approaches? Did the 2010 experience re-set the funding bar? How does it work? How much is earmarked for grassroots? Are these camps part of the grassroots budget? MANY, MANY QUESTIONS, all with interesting responses.

Anonymous said...

Can you get answers to these queries, Eric? From my point, it would be inyeresting to compare our funding and its success to other countries, and how much of a priority WC curling is in the scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

I think a comprehensive look at the budget would be interesting. I would not necessarily view it negatively, since few can argue with success like Canada has had of late, in particular; but you make a good point, Eric, that given Jim's experience, could he turn a relatively (middle of the pack) competitie side into a contender, or even a winner? I, for one, believe that his advantage in this relatively young sport is HUGE, and will remain so for the next few years, at least.

Couple this with the way he and Darryl work at it, and it still would be an upset for Canada to lose.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of funding, any decision on who is going to the Scottish event in January?

Anonymous said...

Someone should ask Joe Rea about Scotland. I thought he was looking at taking a developmental squad?

Anonymous said...

I would hope they will take the present Team Canada, given their lack of competition this year. Come on Ottawa, we are bacfk to gaining points for 2014 again

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever seen a budget for Team Canada? If fuding has remained the same, I cannot believe that their burn rate this season is anywhere near last year's. As I have seen it, the only real money spent this year has been with flying coaches around for the provincial camps.