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The Golden Decade of Sport in the UK

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With the recent news of England’s successful Rugby World Cup bid, it would appear that another part of what is fast becoming known as ‘The Golden Decade of Sport’ has fallen into place. The thought of an Olympic Games and RWC may be enough to excite most sports fans, but for many the big one is still the 2018 Football World Cup bid. Regardless of whether England are successful in their bid for the World Cup or not, what has successfully been achieved is the fuelling a nations passion for sport and the situation of the UK as the definitive home of international sport for the next decade.

The next 10 years will not only provide British sports fans with an incredible range of world class sporting events but will also herald unprecedented investment into all areas of the sporting spectrum. The legacy that these events will leave behind, and in particular the Olympics, will benefit generations for years to come. The hope and expectation is that the increased investment in sports facilities will continue to reap rewards for decades to come in increased participation at a youth and grassroots level.

The increased sporting profile that the UK has received on the back of the successful 2012 Olympic bid has not only encouraged youth participation in sport but has also acted as a catalyst for further sporting growth. The successful Olympics bid paved the way for subsequent successful 2015 RWC bid and a yet to be decided 2018 football World Cup bid. What Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Gerry Sutcliffe, the current minister for sport have achieved is fuelling a nations passion for sport and situating British sport as an example for rest of the world to aspire to. Ex-sports minister Richard Caborn is currently leading England’s bid to stage the 2018 football World Cup, and with him a nations hopes of completing the golden decade of sport. Caborn will undoubtedly point to England’s success at hosting similar scale events in the past and our plans to hold similar events in the future as an indicator of our ability to host a successful Football World Cup.

When the country is not spending money on fighting wars, combating swine flu and clawing its way out of the misery that is the recession, both the exchequer and the lottery are spending considerable sums on sporting facilities. Since 2001, the exchequer and the national lottery have invested over £1 billion into building or upgrading 4,000 sports facilities across Britain. The economic benefit will trickle down to football clubs across England as they generate revenue from hosting sporting events. Quite impressive right? Even more astonishing is that public funding for community sport has increased by over 700% in the last 10 years, from £50 million in 1998 to its current level of £400 million a year.

British Sport is on the up. A true sporting nation with a huge opportunity to take advantage of the range of sporting events being showcased across the UK in the next 10 years. Just some of the great due to take place between now and 2020 include:

2010: Ryder Cup, Celtic Manor
2012: Champions League Final
2012: Olympic and Paralympic Games, London
2013: Rugby League World Cup
2014: Ryder Cup, Gleneagles and Commonwealth Games, Glasgow
2015: Rugby World Cup
2018: Football World Cup – TBC
2019: Cricket World Cup

For one generation we appear to have all three elements of sporting success in alignment, international promise, amateur and grassroots initiatives in motion and we are hosts for many major sporting events. Lets win gold medals galore, lets have an all England champions league final and relive our 1966 glory on no better place than our home turf.

Long live sport and public spending on it!!

Alain Brissimitzakis writes on UnifySport.com.

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