Martyn Allison, former national advisor for culture and sport for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, also argued that the greatest opportunities will be around using sport to improve health and wellbeing, and that sport participation could help address youth alienation and social unrest.
He made the comments at the sixth annual Sheffield Hallam University Physical Education, Sport Development and Coaching student conference, the first major UK sport conference of the Olympic year.
Martyn told the audience of sport development with coaching students that, following the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sport sector must decide whether its focus is on elite sports or social policy.
He said: “The challenge is preventing this catastrophe of falling off the edge of a cliff, and the sector has got to wake up to a mature position and say ‘the world has changed, we’ve had the Olympics – how can we now live with 25 per cent less resource? How can we manage that resource better? How can we use the feel-good factor of the Olympics to really position ourselves around health, social care and wellbeing?'”
According to Martyn there will be a window of around 18 months after the Olympics for the sport industry to make its case, but that the case will need to be made on a local level, rather than national.
He said: “That’s the new challenge. We can’t rely on Government telling councils and telling people that sport’s important – that case is going to have to be made locally.”
Martyn Allison was speaking at the sixth annual Sheffield Hallam University Physical Education, Sport Development and Coaching student conference, titled ‘2012 – Changing People, Changing Sport, Changing Lives’.
It is the first major sport conference to be held during the London 2012 Olympic year and features a range of keynote speakers from the sports industry, culminating in a keynote address from Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of UK Sport.
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