Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, John Whittingdale addressed delegates at the Telegraph’s Business of Sport conference this week.
“A principle of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events is that a minimum of 30 per cent of net broadcasting revenue is put back into grassroots development within that sport. This is very welcome.
“Whenever a sport makes significant money from a television deal, I hope it will plough a substantial amount into its grassroots.
“For the grassroots of sport are critically important. We want people of all ages and abilities to be inspired to make sport a central part of their lives.
“Leon Smith – the brilliant captain of the first GB team to win the Davis Cup since 1936 – along with Annabel Croft is overseeing a scheme called “Tennis for Kids”, working with coaches to get children involved in the sport and to create an environment where they don’t just try tennis but stick with it. It is great to see elite coaches and athletes give back to their sport in this way.
“Some governing bodies have done good work too – such as the RFU through its CBRE All Schools programme, which aims to increase the amount of rugby in schools and encourage new players to join local clubs. The RFU invested 32.5m last year in the grassroots game, an increase of 5 per cent from previous year.The benefits of this are huge and varied. We know that sport has a positive impact on health, crime, wellbeing and social cohesion. It also has an economic impact. Physical activity adds £39 billion to the UK economy every year – half of which comes from people’s involvement in grassroots sport. The more people get active, the more the economy grows. It’s a virtuous circle.”