Aussie Olympics Boss Backs British-Style Lottery Funding Of Elite Sport Down Under

Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Emma McKeon - WR for Australia - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Australia’s Olympic boss John Coates has backed calls for his country to follow Britain’s sport-funding model by creating an Aus$50 million lottery to help keep the Dolphins and their counterparts in other sports competitive.

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Two key thought streams become paramount in my mind after reading this piece.

Firstly, propositions along these lines are not new to Australia with the first such proposal being mooted in 1979. A federal parliamentary committee discussed such an entity in depth in 1983 but the states were not supportive given the likely erosion of their own state lottery revenue bases. A further such proposal during the 90s to help fund the Sydney Olympics did not proceed due to like concerns.

Since then the administration of most state lotteries has changed thus mitigating these previous concerns but whilst I’m willing to see this as a viable option; I still think there are dangers in seeing this as being the infallable cash cow that they hope it will be.

GBR has a population of @66mill whereas AUS is barely tickling 25mill so expectations of the “cut” need to be scaled down realistically. What if lottery revenue takes some major hits and trends downwards as is already being seen in the UK ?

My second major thought concerns Mr Coates himself. A most adept political player but I can’t help thinking he is also engaging in a canny game of evasion and distraction away from the conduct of his own organisation ala “Look over there, look over there !”

It is HIS organisation that has continued to “rubber stamp”/hand out plane tickets to bloated teams of 400+competitors (NOT including the support staffs) despite a clear tend of significantly diminishing returns & some sports with clear trendlines of non-performance.

When did HIS organisation last make any significant capital investment into summer Olympic sports ? Granted, they did so on the Winter front in 1999 with the Olympic Winter Institute which has paid dividends ever since …… arguably by concentration on certain core discipline fields.

They have set up the Australian Olympic Foundation which, at Apr 2016, had total equity of over AUS140mill but to what end ?? It only appears to serve as a “nest egg”/investment vehicle. Shouldm’t the question be asked, why not use at least some of this hoard along the lines of USOC and what they have done at Colorado Springs ? Maybe not solely out of their pocket but maybe as part of a recalibration of the AIS and similar entities ?

Yes, there are questions to be asked across the board but the AOC should not be getting away “scott-free”. Questions should and be asked of THEIR policies and practices.

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