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ASC proposes lottery to meet sports funding shortfall

Fri, Sep 2, 10:00am by Senior Writer

Australian Sports Commission chairman John Wylie has confirmed that a UK-style sports lottery has been discussed as a possible funding model for future Olympic campaigns.

The ASCs Winning Edge funding program has come under fire for the Olympics result which fell well short of expectations, with concerns about a short-fall ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Australia failed to reach its goal of a top five finish on the Rio medals table but Wylie did not blame a 15 per-cent ‘real-terms’ decrease in Federal Government grants that have dropped from $268 million in 2011 to $254 million.

He did acknowledge the challenge facing Olympic sports with Government funding unlikely to increase.

“In a global sense, relatively, we are going backwards,’’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

The UK Olympic team finished second on the medal tally in Rio with 27 gold medals, with 70 per cent of their funding came=ing from lottery revenue and 30 per cent from government grants.

“A few years ago the UK was almost a laughing stock on the medals table,’’ said Wylie. “Now they’re No.2. We think ‘Why isn’t that possible (here)’.

The initiative would require Federal Government legislation, and likely meet resistance from state governments who reap considerable tax from their own lotteries, but Wylie believes it could work for Australian sport. He would not speculate on how much money an Olympic lottery would raise.

The Winning Edge funding program has already came under attack from Australian Olympics Commission chief John Coates, who criticised both the allocation of funds and the appointment of so-called’top end’ businessmen to head various Olympic sports.

The forecast was 16 gold medals in Rio and Australia came up short, winning only half of that. Australia was tenth on the overall medal tally, but in a glass half-full outlook, 50 per cent of athletes who finished in the top eight in their events were aged between 20 and 24.

Australia won medals across 12 sports so there are signs the long-term strategy could bear fruit. The UK lottery system has clearly worked so is surely a strategy worth investigating.

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