Sports Participation (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Actually Seb Coe [Chair, LOCOG] made his point about LOCOG not evaluating the participation when I asked him about this at the Plenary. He did, of course, put the responsibility on yourself and the London boroughs. Can I suggest that you make some contact with the so-called Five Proactive Sport Organisations which are actually, of course, the old Sport England London regions? They are very specifically evaluating what is happening in the boroughs within their pieces of territory. I think you will find that they are the best source of information which my colleague, Andrew Boff, was asking for, because every sport, every group of coaches and every facility is being looked at by the Proactive. That is the way for you and Kate Hoey to find out. I do urge you to make contact and work very closely with them.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Sports Participation (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Sports Participation (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

know that she has and is. The Football Foundation is to be the delivery agency for the programmes that we are supporting. She is certainly in conversation with all those groups.

Murad Qureshi (AM): I think that getting rid of the regional forums was a severe setback to local accountability. In the London region we do have --

Darren Johnson (Chair): You lost a job!

Murad Qureshi (AM): I did not want to mention that in passing, thank you, Chair!

The thing I wanted to mention is that we do have, what I regard as the crown jewels, which is the London Youth Games in London, where we have the activities of all schools and local authorities. I think there are clear patterns that have emerged. I had the privilege of competing in those in the early 1980s, when it was set up soon after the Jubilee, and it is quite clear that the outer London boroughs do better. For example, Redbridge and Havering do very well. Not surprisingly because, actually, they have got a very good amateur sports set up there which supports the schools. We do not see that, unfortunately, in inner London because the facilities just are not there.

I think that is something that your funding programmes need to focus on because I actually think it is a good way of exposing young people at school to all the various sporting options, not just the team sports which tend to get most of the attention.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Certainly we will look at that and I think the London Youth Games are fantastic. I point out, of course, we funded the London finals of the street athletics this year which had 2,200 young people participating. I do think that is another way of getting people involved in track and field who might not, otherwise, have the facilities in inner London. We do want to support things of that kind.

Murad, I confess I did not know that you were a distinguished athlete, in addition to your other accomplishments.

Murad Qureshi (AM): I do not want to go into that but --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No. I feel embarrassed not to know. Which event did you --

Murad Qureshi (AM): No, no. I am not here to plug my sporting past.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): If you have some practical suggestions then I am sure that Kate [Hoey] would be interested.

Murad Qureshi (AM): Can I make one? It is quite clear there are also disparities between different types of schools; fee paying schools and state schools. I can give you one example in Pimlico: Vincent Square. It is a massive asset and it is something which, I think, could be lent out to local comprehensives like Pimlico. I think there is a lot of scope to do that. I am just surprised at the attitudes of some of the schools that do have those assets at not being able to share them more readily with those that do not have them and have to go much further afield to get those facilities. I think there is a lot that can be done on that front.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think that governments of all kinds have been virtually criminal in the way they have allowed playing fields to be sold off. I think that that has been one of the greatest crimes against the education of kids in London that has been committed in the last 30 years. I certainly agree with you about the under provision. What more progress we can make with the independent sector, we certainly should.

I remember vividly going to watch a swimming gala with Kate [Hoey] somewhere in south London. I cannot remember exactly where it was. 30 or 40 years ago there would have been huge numbers of competitors from the maintained sector at this gala who were winning. I have to say, Murad, it was really dismaying to see how the events were dominated by kids from the fee paying sector just because kids from the maintained sector do not get the time and do not have the facilities to learn how to swim. I think that is a tragic, tragic waste of potential. Given how brilliant Britain is already at swimming we should be encouraging far more kids to swim and that is why we are going ahead with the mobile pool scheme which, I think, is proving very successful in Ealing and we are trying to roll it out in other London boroughs.