PtG Article 14.06.2013

UK sports participation drops despite London Olympics

Sport England’s newest survey on sport and active recreation in the UK shows a fall in regular sports participation of 220,000 in the past year, the number of active +26-year-olds has dropped by 280,000.

In spite of governmental promises of a sports participation legacy after the 2012 London Games, Great Britain has seen a drop in regular sports participation from April 2012 - April 2013. The number of people regularly playing sports has dropped by 220,000 compared to the latest data collected in the period October 2011 - October 2012, says a report released by Sport England on Thursday.

Sport England expresses satisfaction with the significant increase in the overall numbers since the first survey was carried out in 2005. The newest survey also shows a slight growth in the participation of women, young people and disabled.

“These figures show we’re holding onto the growth achieved over the past 18 months, despite some poor recent weather,” said Sport England chair Nick Bitel according to a Sport England press release. “There’s a long way to go but it’s particularly encouraging to see the numbers for young people are now moving in the right direction.”

UK Minister of Sport and Tourism Hugh Robertson agreed that the overall result is still in line with the promise of a sports participation legacy from London 2012.

“The long-term trend shows we are on track, with 1.4 million more people playing sport regularly since we won the bid in 2005,” he said according to Inside the Games.

Shadow Minister of Sports Clive Effort was more critical about the new numbers:

"These disappointing figures show the Government is failing to deliver the Olympic legacy," he said. "There should have been a significant increase in participation following the Olympics.

"It is not acceptable to explain away these figures by saying we have had a bad winter. They (the government) are showing a complete lack of planning and any coherent strategy to deliver a legacy."

Read the summary of the Sport England Active People Survey 7