Guernsey Press

Don't throw it all away

Education, Sport & Culture is under increasing pressure to reverse its plan to cut funding for sport following the success of Guernsey’s Island Games.

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(Picture By Peter Frankland, 32298684)

Thousands of children have been among huge crowds watching Guernsey athletes top the medal table in one of the most memorable weeks in the island’s recent history.

But there are fears the legacy of the Games could be thrown away as politicians meet tomorrow to discuss ESC’s intention to cut more than £1m. of funding for the Sports Commission to deliver the island’s sports strategy over the next few years.

‘We know there is a sense of disbelief, certainly within the sporting community, and obviously we are still working with the States to encourage them to think differently.

‘Funding is key for our entire sporting offer to happen, from grass roots level up to our highest elite performers and medal winners,’ said the Commission’s director of operations Graham Chester.

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Rebel ESC member Deputy Andy Cameron claimed it could take sport years to recover from damage caused by the committee’s cuts, unless the States blocks them.

‘Guernsey’s position on the medal table is down to cutting-edge coaching, training, investment in facilities – which have taken decades to develop – and luck.

‘Cutting funding will have a negative impact on our future position on that medal table. It will take decades once again to restore that position,’ said Deputy Cameron.

ESC wants to axe about two-thirds of the commission’s current sports strategy budget.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, the committee’s president, did not respond to a request to comment on the issue before going to print.

It is understood that she met sports officials from other islands during the Games last week.

International Island Games Association chairman Jorgen Pettersson said before the Games began that he would be pushing the cause of sport in meetings with politicians from member islands.