Elite sports have always enjoyed high levels of investment in the advanced first world countries. The primary aim of this debate is to counter the reasons put forward by the states for prioritizing and investing exclusively in the elite sports which brings a biased mental inclination, towards the athletes of the grassroots level (Green, 2007). This essay speaks for the motion and would support the cause that sport funding should necessarily be done for all sport irrespective of their nature and not just the elite sports.
Firstly, the necessity for funding all kinds of sports is of utmost obligation. It will foster growth and development of other games which create more excellent and varied range of opportunities for an individual. Hence, a balanced approach to sport funding must be made to create equal opportunities for those who choose to play the sport or the game for recreating themselves.
Secondly, it is a truth that fund allocations can never be equal for all sports, nor among the level of proficiency, each grade requires. The issue is to allocate them equitably. Adequate funding of broad sports is to be done to provide a fair share and a reasonable opportunity for its fullest development. Surfing is one such sport which is adventurous and has immense potential to develop popularity, yet the sports have seen a decline in the recent years. This is due to the adverse effect of limited funding which establishes the fact that sports funding should be done for he all and not just the elite.
Thirdly, a report by the government of Australia stated that it is currently the most successful sporting nation in the world, which has just begun to restructure their sports policy, by re-assessing the funding requirements away from the elite sports to a more balanced system.(Grix & Carmichael, 2012). It is, therefore, a proven fact that an overall monitoring and a proper funding scheme catering to all the sections, will not only create more opportunities but also pave the way for the future excellence of the sport and hence adequate funding schemes must be allocated to foster the growth. Along with, it is also necessary to fund the mass sports to increase the level of participation among the general people which would inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship and sportsman spirit, eventually inspiring the varying age groups to take up sports in their highest level of competition. A considerate amount of funding is required to maintain the games in the elite level.
Therefore, a significant amount of the funding goes in managing issues such as corruption in sports, segregated sports policy and doping practices among athletes. Directing a balanced distribution of funds would help minimise the cost attached to these avoidable aspects (Stewart et al., 2018) It is also to be noted that the stakeholders will invest only in sports which can generate public popularity and general longing among the common mass (Sam, 2012). The promotion of Surfing, figure skating, fencing and similar sports which attract huge crowd should hence be promoted. This will also allow the stakeholders to invest, since their return on the investment, in the venture will be profitable and lucrative (Smith & Westerbeek, 2007). Therefore adequate promotions and support must be given to non-elite and broader sports to make it more attractive and accessible.
Though it might seem like a simple solution to improve a nation’s interest in sports by incentivizing international competitive sports and the athletes or elite set of players associated to those sports, it doesn’t address some of the very basic questions. Does the concentration of funds help the society in general? Does it help schools get more participation from its students in sports that are not represented in the international level or has the fame that the funded sports have?
For many years, countries all around the world have been trying to figure out the solution to improving its “medal tally” in global competitive events such as the Olympics. While many consider an additional influx of sports budget to the elite participants to help them ensure their country the medals that the countries determine their success with, the second school of thought revolves around the improvement of grass root level investment to help create future competitive sport elites. Though funding elites might get the country more medals, grass root level sports funding would help improve participation and increase the number of active and engaged kids who will grow up to win those medals.
There also are discussions around the funding imbalance between Olympic and non-Olympic sports. For example, sports like archery might be popular in Olympics but hold minimum community participation when compared to football and cricket which hold so much value in terms of active participation.
The need for investing sports funds in grassroots level is also due to the major inequalities in the standards and qualities of sports and activities in private versus state run schools. According to statistics, major chunk of the medal winners from Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics were kids from private schools.
Hence it can be concluded that sports funding should be balanced between elite and non elite sports. This will eventually pave the way for the growth and development of broader sports allowing individuals to recreate. The regulatory bodies and the civic authorities have to create scope for financing in the mass sporting events so as publicity is generated providing the individuals with a greater with a greater scope of participation and development.
Australian Sports Commission. (2010). Participation in exercise, recreation and sport: annual report 2010. Canberra: Australian Sports Commission.
Green, M. (2007). Olympic glory or grassroots development?: Sport policy priorities in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, 1960–2006. The international journal of the history of sport, 24(7), 921-953.
Grix, J., & Carmichael, F. (2012). Why do governments invest in elite sport? A polemic. International journal of sport policy and politics, 4(1), 73-90.
Sam, M. (2012). Targeted investments in elite sport funding: Wiser, more innovative and strategic?. Managing leisure, 17(2-3), 207-220.
Smith, A. C., & Westerbeek, H. M. (2007). Sport as a vehicle for deploying corporate social responsibility. Journal of corporate citizenship, 25(1), 43-54.
Stewart, B., Nicholson, M., Smith, A. C., & Hoye, R. (2018). Sport management: principles and applications. Routledge.