Funding battle may spike volleyball plan

Cash strapped: Team GB men's captain Ben Pipes at the Olympics
Cash strapped: Team GB men's captain Ben Pipes at the Olympics
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WITH the Olympics party now over many of the sports have woken up to a post Games hangover as they look to develop ahead of Rio 2016.

While sports such as cycling and rowing, which have had sustained success over a number of years, will probably see an increase in their budgets from UK Sport others may see cuts to their funding.

Team sports in particular, like basketball, volleyball, water polo and handball all began programmes specifically for London 2012 so find their levels below Olympic competition standards.

However, great strides have been made with victories for the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams showing that Team GB could beat the best. And all are moving up the world rankings. For instance Great Britain volleyball women have risen 49 places to 20th and the men are up 64 places to 28th despite failing to win a set in London.

Volleyball, which is based at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe, has already seen men’s coach Harry Brokking leave. The Star understands this wasn’t a shock to the British Volleyball Federation with Brokking keen to return if funding can be secured.

However, the signs don’t look promising. Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, has confirmed that some Olympic sports will lose their funding in the wake of London 2012. The government has pledged to invest £508million of exchequer and lottery money into sport over the next four years, virtually the same amount that funded Britain’s success in London.

But UK Sport’s “no compromise” policy means only those sports which can demonstrate they will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics are likely to receive any of that money.

The final decision will be made in December, following a period of review, with the new funding cycle starting in January.

The policy is expected to hit sports such as handball and volleyball, which had benefited from receiving host nation places at London 2012.

“We will not be able to fund each and every sport that we funded this time round,” Nicholl said. “We will invest in every sport that has medal potential. The sports that are very likely to multi-medal will be our top priority.

“Success is costly because the more successful you are, the more potential medallists you have got, the more athletes we have to support to achieve the medal potentials.”

Both Great Britain volleyball teams are now concentrating on qualifying for next year’s European Championships. The men begin their campaign on September 7 while the women are in action on September 6.