altOCTOBER 23 - SPORT ENGLAND, the Government agency who have been tasked with delivering the sports legacy from the 2012 Olympics, were rocked today by the resignation of its deputy chairman Ged Roddy (pictured).


It means that organisation that distributes National Lottery funding to grassroots projects across England and is responsible for getting the country more active is now searching for a new chairman and deputy-chairman as the countdown to London 2012 begins.


Derek Mapp resigned as the chairman last November after he was ordered to do so by then Culture Secretary James Purnell following a row about the direction that the organisation should be taking in the build-up to London 2012 and funding.


Roddy, a former semi-professional footballer, is widely respected and liked.


He has helped turn the University of Bath into the one of Britain's leading academic institutions for aspiring sportsmen and women to train.


Earlier this today, during a visit by Purnell's successor as Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, the University was described as a "first-rate facility".


The Government have been searching unsuccessfully for a successor for Mapp for nearly a year now.


Their first choice, Sir Keith Mills, the former chief executive of London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, turned down the opportunity to replace Mapp because he wanted to concentrate on his role as head of Britain's America's Cup challengers, TEAMORIGIN, and helping England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.


Attention has now turned as a potential successor for Mapp to Richard Lewis, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League who is an experienced sports administrator and who has recently carried out a review Sport England's funding priorities.


A spokeswoman for Roddy told told insidethegames that his surprise decision to resign had nothing to do with the delay in finding someone to replace Mapp.


He said he will now concentrate on projects as director of sport at the University of Bath and on ensuring that they maximise the opportunities presented by London 2012.


Roddy said: "It's been an exciting and stimulating challenge.


"It's now time for a fresh team to come in at Sport England for the 2012 cycle."


Roddy plans to maintain his role with Sport England as the chairman of the South West Region.


Nevertheless, the timing of his announcement is embarrassing for Sport England, who since 1994 have invested over £2 billion of Lottery funds and £300 million from the Exchequer into sports in England.


Starting next year Sports England will channel more of its annual £120 million funding direct to sports governing bodies as part of the Government's drive for increased participation in competitive sport.


Sport England has been given the task of getting one million more Britons to take up sport by 2012 with the other half of the two-million target shared by Government departments.


Sport England now has to distinguish between competitive sport and leisure pursuits, which will no longer be funded by the agency.