STEVE LAW, the interim chair of UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport, says that the organisation can draw a lot of positives from the independent review of sport and physical activity in UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• that was published earlier this week.
The review was commissioned by Minister for Sport, Deputy Lucy Stephenson, and said there were ‚Äúserious concerns‚ÄĚ expressed by key stakeholders in sport concerning relationship between UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport and the government. However, it recommended that the arms-length arrangement continue but with delivery strengthened.
While Law accepted all 21 recommendations put forward by the review, he defended the record and achievements of UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport since its formation in 2017 and, while he admitted its image could be improved, he said a lot of the staff had felt ‚Äúdejected‚ÄĚ by the criticism.
‚ÄúUU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport is ready to accept the challenge and move forward. It‚Äôs a bit of a reset for the organisation and that‚Äôs not a bad thing,‚ÄĚ said Law.
‚ÄúA lot of the criticism, broken promises and all that sort of stuff, comes from people‚Äôs opinions and all people‚Äôs opinions are valid. We‚Äôre not trying to be defensive or shy away from that. We‚Äôre looking at it from a positive point of view and how we shape the future now with the government.
‚Äú[But] there‚Äôs not been the money going into sport that some sports felt there was going to be when UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport was created. There was a lot of expectation that possibly hasn‚Äôt been met. I‚Äôm not sure the expectation was realistic from certain sectors.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs lots of good things in the report. There‚Äôs significant mention about the good work that‚Äôs done at a delivery level by our staff and the team.‚ÄĚ
Law accepted the recommendations illustrated that the relationship between the Government of UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• and UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport could be managed better but said that his organisation had consistently met its obligations throughout.
‚ÄúThe report does highlight a certain vagueness around strategy and who owns the strategy. Is it a government strategy? Is it a UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport strategy? That‚Äôs confused a lot of people and that needs to be looked at. I don‚Äôt think the government are any more to blame than UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport. It all comes down to funding and there has been a lot of disappointments in the sports sector because the funding hasn‚Äôt been going into sport [but] I think in Lucy Stephenson, we‚Äôve got a minister that is determined to address some of these issues and hopefully the rest of the ministers, and government generally, will fall behind it.‚ÄĚ
One of UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport‚Äôs most successful initiatives has been the Move More campaign to get more people active in the Island. Law said this should remain an equal priority for the organisation alongside its support of sports clubs, associations and its members. However, he conceded that the Move More programmes is able to attract better support and funding from the private sector.
‚ÄúClearly there‚Äôs issues that need to be addressed but we have other independent [from government] ambitions as well and we are a charity. We will continue to advocate for sport and active living. Fundraising is clearly a priority for us. It always has been. We want to grow to become a bigger organisation,‚ÄĚ said Law, adding that UU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport will also play a big part in delivering the Elite Performance Strategy that Deputy Stephenson announced two weeks ago, concluding: ‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs important that Lucy Stephenson needs to be thanked for commissioning this report.
‚ÄúUU¬„Ńń÷Ī≤• Sport welcomes it and now our focus is on the future and implementing the recommendations with which we agree.‚ÄĚ