Tuesday 29. November, 2016

John Coats Buries Rivalry to Support Sports Lottery

Australian Olympic chief, John Coates, has joined calls for the establishment of a national lottery to support Australia’s Olympic sports, setting aside his rivalry with Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chairman, John Wylie.

Despite being publically opposed to the ASC’s Winning Edge funding model which prioritises funding for the sports that are expected to perform best, Mr Coates has come out in support of Mr Wylie’s campaign to establish a national lottery that will generate up to $50 million in funds for sports and the arts.

With government funding for sports declining over the past five years, the ASC faced a “moment of truth” when the Australian team came away with far fewer gold medals than had been expected in the Rio 2016 Games.

“We are on a burning deck in terms of our international performance,” Mr Wylie told The Australian. “There is no better evidence of that than what has been happening at the Olympic Games.”

“If we are going to remain competitive internationally, if we are going to have a healthy and active society, we need to invest significantly more in the system.”

Wylie is calling on the government to set up the lottery in order to maintain Australia’s competitiveness in the International sporting world. Last year, the National Lottery in Britain generated $3 billion in revenue with around $417 million of that going to Sports England, Sports Council of Northern Ireland, Sport Scotland, Sports Council of Wales and UK Sport.

“We are being out-funded by other countries, particularly Britain and Germany,” Coates pointed out. “I would give the lottery whole-hearted support and I hope it gets up.”

The lottery has also garnered support from Mark Arbib, Athletics Australia chief and former sports minister, as well as John Bertrand, Swimming Australia chief.

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