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Sports Think Tank - Personalities on the Move?

"A sports think tank would be a great legacy from the 2012 games, enabling future generations to benefit from long term, well researched, and evidence-based sports policy making in the UK" Seb Coe

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Personalities on the Move?

Posted: Mon, 13 Aug 2012 23:23

Now the 2012 Games have ended the focus shifts back to the Sports Landscape organisations as decisions about their futures and funding have been put on hold in the last couple of years.

The announcement today that Lord Moynihan will step down in November will start a game of musical chairs in sports administration. This will leave a vacancy at the head of the BOA in difficult times. Whilst it has delivered a Gold medal tally (or UK Sport did?) we can all be proud of it has a large financial deficit to deal with. Without a home games the role of the BOA probably returns to being a 'logistical organiser'/travel agent for TeamGB in 2016. So whilst an important role it will not have the same power as during this Olympic cycle. Names are already being put around in the press but it is too early to say who the front runners are. The BOA will have to decide what sort of skills they require after the combatative years with Colin Moynihan at the helm. Don't rule out a return to 'front-line' politics for him. A sports Minister again in the Lords?

It is likely Baroness Sue Campbell will stand down as Chair of UK Sport at around the same time. As the merger of UK Sports and Sport England back on the agenda now that the Games are over it is likely that Sir Keith Mills will be the favourite to take over the new joint body. Baroness Campbell it is likely would stay on at the Youth Sport Trust for some time.

As we have learned Lord Coe has been appointed to an unpaid part time role as Legacy Ambassador. It is unclear what this will mean. But it is clear that Coe is not thinking of a return to front line politics. So we have t wait to see if this is one of those Jobs without meaning. I hope not.

Over at Sport England there is no sign that Richard Lewis is in a hurry to move anywhere despite the change of role - taking over at AELTC earlier this year. His future of course will be in doubt if the merger does go ahead and Sir Keith emerges as Chair. It will be interesting to see if he creates Deputy Chair roles for the two bodies previous functions. It would make sense.

In terms of key staff there have been changes already with Peter Keene changing his role at UK sport. The two CEOs of the two bodies have not made any formal announcements about their futures. So we will be looking to see what happens to key LOCOG staff. There are plenty of very talented people about to enter the sports job market.

And what will happen in government? The Prime Minister has been averse to reshuffles so far in the life of this government unless they have been forced on him. In the normal cycle of events we may have something happen before the party conference season? What will happen to the key players - Gove, Hunt and Robertson? Each have had an impact in their own way. Gove most famously for cutting SSPs and £162m from school sport. Hunt for slowly getting sport and focussing on the Olympics and the School Games. Robertson for being well liked by the sport lobby for at least understanding the sector - although many feel he has been undperpowered in this government... as Sports Ministers often are!

As Kevin Jeffrey points out in his Book on sports politics much is decided by the Prime Minister. In some ways Cameron probably enjoys sport (he played tennis for a bit for the parliamentary team) but has not really enjoyed getting down into the detail (a criticism from his own side on many issues). So we will have to see if he genuinely takes an interest from now onwards.

Here at the Sports Think Tank we are not interested in personalities per se. But we do recognise that, as we have seen in the last couple of weeks, when talking and deciding Olympic Legacy policy the positions anecdotes and opinions of some of the key people are vital. The fact that we have a Cabinet of millionaire Public school Boys in charge of Sport does have an impact.

Finally - if the Ministers change then the SPADs equally change. There is a possibility that sport will see a massive change in the key personalities in the next 5-6 months. Without knowing who will replace these key figures it is difficult to know what impact it will have. What we do know is that in policy terms we have to keep trying to get over our evidence based facts to whoever is running sport in 2013!

Tags: sport, policy, UKsport, sport england, BOA

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