Joint letter published by The FA, ECB, LTA, RFL & RFU

Thursday 06 Jun 2024

What’s the sporting vision?

This General Election is taking place against the backdrop of an extraordinary summer of sport.

As chief executives for five of the country’s largest governing bodies we know just how much sport is woven into the DNA of our country. Millions play, volunteer, work and watch across a huge range of activities – from the world’s leading sporting events to grassroots clubs and organisations at the heart of communities across the nation.

Indeed we expect more people will engage with sport this month than actually vote in the election – which sends an important message to those standing for office.

That is why we are calling on all of the political parties to step up and set out their vision for sport.

The contribution sport makes is often relegated to the political sidelines. In fact it has a huge public policy contribution to make.

Our sector makes a significant contribution to the economy while also delivering benefits such as improved physical and mental health and educational attainment, and engaging young people in positive activities. In 2017 Sport England found that the contribution of community sport was worth £85.5bn to the economy and for every £1 spent on sport and physical activity it generated almost £4 in return.

Amongst many issues, we have two priorities we are keen to see addressed in the Party manifestos.

Firstly, ensuring that school sport is fit for the future.

An obesity timebomb is ticking in young people and the Chief Medical Officer has reiterated that every child should undertake the equivalent of an hour a day of physical activity.

The societal benefits of ensuring children develop a healthy relationship with sport and physical activity are huge, but while we expect children to leave school with numerical, verbal and written literacy, our current approach leaves physical literacy to chance.

Good progress has recently been made towards offering all boys and girls the opportunity to play the sport of their choice, but we now need to see this commitment backed up by the offer of good quality PE sessions.

We hope that the manifestos due to be published next week will include a commitment to put physical literacy at the heart of the school day by having a minimum of two hours of quality Sport and Physical Education mandated within the National Curriculum and every child guaranteed the opportunity to be active for an hour a day inside and outside of the school setting.

Secondly, investment in sports facilities across the country.

Clubs, pitches, courts and local facilities are the lifeblood of all communities. They are a vital part of our nation’s wellbeing and national infrastructure. Everyone should have access to good quality sports facilities. Yet many are now in a poor state. Across our sports we have all identified a common need for additional investment to improve grassroots facilities.

We want to see our political leaders commit to building on the progress that has been made recently through Government investment in good quality facilities through models such as the Football Foundation, legacy investment connected to international events such as the recent Rugby League World Cup, the Women’s World Cups for Rugby (2025) and Cricket (2026) and the Parks Tennis programme.

We are keen to encourage a sporting debate. We will make sure all commitments and information provided by any of the political parties is shared across our members.

Mark Bullingham, Chief Executive, The FA

Richard Gould, Chief Executive, ECB

Scott Lloyd, Chief Executive, LTA

Tony Sutton, Chief Executive, RFL

Bill Sweeney, Chief Executive, RFU

By FA Staff