A National Governing Body CEO Forum has been launched here today, with the aim of acting as an independent voice to influence national and local policy making on sport in England.
Chaired by Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England, the Forum includes chief executives from 39 National Governing Bodies (NGBs), including Olympic, non-Olympic and Paralympic sports.
"Thirty nine NGBs have come together for the first time to promote their significant role, reach and impact in helping to deliver sport in England," Christy said.
"Over the past decade NGBs have been transformed with the injection of Government and National Lottery money and a much more professional and focused approach that has seen more people play sport at least once a week over the last decade.
"There is a lack of awareness among the public, politicians and influencers in terms of the impact our work and the fact that it links to much wider social and economic agendas."
In an attempt to promote the work of their governing bodies the Forum have released a report titled the "State of Play", which highlights their impact in 2014.
The research was compiled by Professor Simon Shibli, Head of Sheffield Hallam University Sport Industry Research Centre, and aims to present a well-rounded view of governing bodies influence on sport, rather than focusing solely on their medal tallies.
Each NGB was requested to provide information ranging from the number of members their organisation has, to the amount of volunteers and number of medals won at major international championships.
The report points to there being 1.8 million people registered as members of sport clubs run by the collective governing bodies, a million than those who are member of a political party, according to a 2015 House of Commons Report which revealed the total number of members to all the political parties was 738,000.
With the General Election set to be held on May 7 and sport funding set to be an issue for political parties to consider the report aims to highlight the appeal of sport to the public and encourage them to continue their support and funding the NGB's.
The 39 NGBs receive roughly 78 per cent of Sport England funding across a four-year period, which is around £300 million ($453 million/€420 million), while they are awarded £196 million ($296 million/€275 million) only for Olympic and Paralympic sports through the four-year Rio 2016 cycle from UK Sport.
Sally Munday chief executive of England Hockey, said it "would be a nightmare for the country" if the level of funding was reduced.
Christy echoed her sentiments saying "We want to ensure that NGBs remain at the heart of the sports system and that NBG funding is maintained to enable us to build on the significant progress achieved over the last decade."
"In addition, we are calling for an overall vision for sport that aligns central and local Government with NGBs and stakeholders in the sporting landscape, enabling a seamless system from school and community sport through to the podium."
As the report aims to highlight the importance of sport to the future government, over 1.9 million volunteers were calculated to have been linked to National Governing Bodies, a greater number than the entire National Health Service, while their financial contribution estimated to have been worth around £5 billion ($7.5 billion/€7 billion) for the year.
The value of the volunteers and the increased number of participants in sport, with 9.3 million people across the country claiming to take part in at least 30 minutes of exercise a week, are seen as examples of the NGBs having an impact on sport in communities.
Christy and Munday reiterated this point, stating that the Forum would see the governing bodies work together to share best practice but additionally create plans for sport as a collective in local communities rather than focusing on individual sports and its requirements.
Professor Shibli explained that his research had also shown the influence that the NGBs had on both grassroots level and on the international stage.
"CEO Forum NGBs also helped to deliver almost three million sports competitions last year and an increasing number within schools, as well as a growing number of British officials holding positions in international sports administration," Shibli said.
"Our research demonstrates the impact of NGBs in supporting some significant social and economic agendas crucial to whichever administration holds office at 10 Downing Street from May."
The Forum are set to meet every six weeks and say they will consider possible responses to political parties manifesto's when they are published next month.
To read the full report click here.
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