Significant review of sports funding passes

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A review which called for an overhaul in Cambridge University sports funding has passed, meaning that its recommendations will be enacted.

It was announced on Friday 28 November that the Placet in support of the review was passed by 480 to 325 by members of the Regents House.

The Sports Review had criticised the Sports Syndicate, the current funding organisation. With only one representative from the University, the Director of Physical Education, as a member of the syndicate, the review argued the current group was therefore almost detached from University structure. The main point of contact with the higher powers was an annual report, which The Blue Bird had criticised as "extremely ineffectual."

In its place, the Review recommended a Cambridge University Sports Committee, which would be more directly connected to the University.

The review's findings faced opposition. During the Senate House Discussions last January, Director of Physical Education Mr Anthony Lemons stated: “This report envisages that sport should be downgraded to a service, like buying rubber bands or paper clips. It leaves no room for vision, imagination or innovative strategy.”

However, it received widespread support from students, with over 1000 signatures, including from University and sporting societies such as the Cambridge University Boat Club. Editor-in-Chief of The Blue Bird, Tom Bennett, told The Cambridge Student that the review was “an extremely progressive step.” which contained a “core of positive proposals.”

However, the passing of this review does not constitute the end of their campaign. On their website, The Blue Bird state: "This is only the beginning. We by no means believe that the passing of this review is the end of the matter ... it lays the foundations upon which it is possible to engineer positive change for sport at this University."

CUSU have also tried to raise the issue of levels of funding for sports socieites, as well as its structure. CUSU Coordinator Jemma Stewart had investigated the levels of funding at Cambridge in comparison to other Russell Group universities. She found that the latter were providing between approximately £200,000 and £700,000 direct funding to sporting clubs and societies. The Sports Syndicate, in contrast, was only giving approximately £130,000. Stewart commented to TCS: "At CUSU, we’re well aware that the University has not given enough priority to funding and supporting the student experience  - especially sport – and it’s something we’re looking into running a campaign on."

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