More governance debate as NGB loses central funding
20th July 2017
With Volleyball England’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) fast approaching, the fierce debate about the governance of English sport shows no sign of abating.
Table Tennis England last week became the first National Governing Body (NGB) to have their Sport England funding withheld for failing to implement governance reforms.
There are now serious concerns that British Cycling will suffer the same fate this weekend. Speculation is rife that there is sufficient opposition among its national councillors to see the organisation’s proposed reforms fail to gain the 75% support they require.
In both instances, the proposed reforms, which include the appointment of an independent Board chair, are designed to bring the organisations into line with the government’s new Code for Sports Governance. Adherence to the Code is a non-negotiable condition of continued funding from UK Sport and Sport England.
After Table Tennis England fell just short of its 75% threshold, Sport England moved immediately to withhold the next instalment of the organisation’s £9 million funding, which was intended to support it through the 2017-2021 funding cycle.
In a statement, Sport England said: “Our policy is clear. Organisations that don’t meet the Code for Sports Governance will not be eligible to receive public investment. Therefore, no further investment can be made in Table Tennis England until changes are made.”
If British Cycling’s reforms are rejected, it stands to lose £43 million; made up of £26 million from UK Sport, to support preparations for the 2020 Olympics, and £17 million from Sport England to boost grass roots participation.
With Volleyball England’s own AGM due to take place the following weekend, the organisation is keen to stress how important its proposed reforms are.
Janet Inman, interim Chief Executive Officer at Volleyball England, said: “Sport England’s recent actions have sent out a clear message of how seriously they are treating the topic of governance. And rightly so – as sport is now a multi-million pound business which benefits from significant government backing. When Sport England recently awarded us £1.3 million for the next 18 months, we were left in no doubt that this award was dependent on us securing membership support for our own proposed governance reforms.”
“What has happened with table tennis cannot happen here. With Sport England funding currently accounting for 65% of our income, we cannot afford for it to happen here. Unlike British Cycling, we do not – yet – have other sources of commercial income which we can rely on to fill any shortfall. Our own reforms will bring us in line with the new Code, implementing a Board structure which will make us more efficient, accountable and transparent. I therefore strongly urge all of our voting members to get behind the reforms at our AGM on 29 July.”