Loss of tax revenue is called negligible despite reduced funding for sports

The Government have now decided to grant a tax amnesty to overseas athletes who are to compete in London Grand prix in the Olympic stadium this summer. This to ensure that famous athletes, such as Usain Bolt, will come and compete.

Britain used to impose taxes on appearance fees and prize money for non-resident athletes who competed in any sports in the country. This tax has prevented Bolt racing in Britain since 2009, except for the summer olympics, because he thinks it is to expensive.

George Osborne, British treasury chief, agreed to the tax concession because it is important for the Olympic legacy. He also means that the loss of tax revenue is negligible compared the to the benefits for London and athletics.

It is interesting how the Government, who decided to reduce funding for connecting sports clubs and schools, and in some cases remove completely, funding for elite sports that do not have a chance of winning gold at the olympics, can afford to call a loss of tax revenue negligible.

Is the Olympic legacy only about getting athletic superstars to compete in the UK, or should it not about getting people active, especially children, in sports that interest them?

 

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The redevelopment of the Olympic Park has now started

Olympic Village Proposal released last year by The Olympic Delivery Authority

The redevelopment of the Olympic park has now started. The arenas are being reduced in size, to become more suitable for national events, and the temporary venues are being recycled, for example the Aquatic Centre’s stands are being send to a racetrack in Miami. All this to avoid the relics of the Olympics costing more than they are worth.

The plan for the centre piece of the park, the 80,000-capacity Olympic stadium, is still undecided. A decision is to be made in March but the favourite bidders to move in to the stadium on a full-time basis is Premier league football club West Ham United. This summer though, whatever the decision is, the stadium will host a series of concerts, the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony and the London Grand Prix athletics meeting. There is no talk about reducing the stadium in size at this moment.

The competitors rooms in the Athletes Village are being transformed into “luxury”- do developers build any other kind- flats with the first of the 2,818 tenants moving in later this year. They will also build new flats, houses and at least three schools for the new residents. Within 20 years the plan is that Queen Elizabeth Olympic park will be the home of 8,000 people, where a third are suppose to be “affordable” housing.

Interesting enough they mean that the new flats and houses are a boost for the city where rents are too high for many people to pay, but is luxurious flats and so called “affordable” housing really something a family with average or below-average wage can afford?

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, also insists that the new community will be vibrant and that there is no risk the neighbour will be empty most of the time, like the estates in the Olympic Park in Athens. Is it not a risk though, with another community in London for the wealthy, that the buyers will be rich people who lives abroad and only use the flat when they visit London? Is this really the way to make a community vibrant? Would it not be better to build houses and flats that “normal” Londoners can afford and not just people who have a lot of money?

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Basketball gets funding after all

Last week we wrote about how the government, despite their promise to keep the sports legacy from the Olympics permanent, decided to not fund British basketball anymore. This led to two angry open letters to David Cameron from 2005 ambassador for the games Amber Charles and British basketball superstar Luol Deng.

The government have now changed their mind and decided to fund basketball for another year, claiming that it is not the open letters that changed their mind. Instead Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s chief executive, says that the decision is based on performance criteria. According to the EuroBasket draw, that took place after the first decision, England has a chance of a place in the top-eight in Rio 201.

There are still sports that has to make it without funding, such as table tennis, wrestling and indoor volleyball, while sports such as weightlifting and powerlifting have to survive on smaller funds than they would have wished for.

The reason some sports do not get funding is because UK sport’s and the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, thinks it is better to fund sports that have a chance to win a medal, preferably a gold-medal, at the Olympics.

So does this mean that the government only plans to keep the legacy going for sports that can give them gold-medals? Is sport really all about winning or is it not mostly about getting people active in sports they enjoy?

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Government breaks its promise to keep sports alive – again

As we have written before, the government has failed to keep the sports legacy from the Olympics 2012 positive and permanent, and to encourage young people to get involved in sports. Now they have decided to cut all of the funding for basketball in the UK, something that has upset both Amber Charles, who was an ambassador for the Games around the time for the bid in 2005, and British basketball superstar Luol Deng.

They have both decided to write letters to David Cameron, letting him know how upsetting it is for them and others involved in the sport. Why basketball can’t keep its funding isn’t clearly answered and is it really the government’s job to decide which sports are more important then others? Especially when their promise was to encourage people, particularly young people to get involved in sports.

 

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