Exclusive: BT Paralympic World Cup in danger of being scrapped less than year after London 2012
Monday, 28 January 2013
January 28 - The BT Paralympic World Cup, the largest annual international multi-sport competition in the world for disability sport, looks on the verge of being scrapped less than a year after the conclusion of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The competition has been staged annually in Manchester since 2005 after being formed by the British Paralympic Association (BPA) in collaboration with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
BT has been the title sponsors of the event since 2009 while London 2012 Paralympic broadcaster Channel 4 took over from the BBC in televising the event in 2011 and 2012.
But, despite the huge popularity the event has secured, where it has previously featured the likes of Oscar Pistorius, Dave Weir and Ellie Simmonds, the event now may not take place at all.
International sports marketing agency Fast Track, who have been primarily responsible for staging the event and helping turn it into a success, say that talks are still on-going but have mooted an alternative "multi-sport Paralympic event in the UK" that would take a different format from the Paralympic World Cup.
The BPA and BT have also claimed that discussions are still on-going despite there being less than four months until May, when the competition has previously taken place.
In addition, Manchester City Council have made no comment on the event taking place, meaning that any new-look event may be held outside the city despite the Manchester Regional Arena having been the key venue for past Paralympic World Cups.
One of the key problems preventing the event taking place is the refusal of major Paralympic sports to commit to another multi-sport competition including the likes of cycling, swimming and the blue-ribbon sport of the Paralympic World Cup which is athletics.
These sports are looking to market themselves individually following the huge success of the Paralympic Games, with the plans of athletics having become clear today as the IPC announced their athletics series in the style of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League.
The series will feature a number of international Grand Prix events that would clash with a summer Paralympic World Cup.
It is the refusal of sports such as athletics to commit that has seen a lack of interest from BT in signing up again as headline sponsors.