Political parties lay out sports plans ahead of 2017 General Election

Manifestos launched by the major political parties ahead of the 2017 General Election have set out their stalls on sport and physical activity policy, with a Commonwealth Games bid and ‘safe standing’ at football grounds a possibility after the 8 June vote.

Despite launching the first piece of major sporting policy in over a decade shortly after being elected to government in 2015, the Conservative Party has very little mention of sport in its blueprint for the country.

However, the party used the document to reiterate its commitment to doubling its financial support for sport in primary schools – to £320m (US$411.4m, €369m) from 2017 – and its plan to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

There is no suggestion that the desired outcomes referenced by the Sporting Future strategy will be altered.

Labour’s manifesto was also light on detail, with a focus mainly on elite sport and ticketing.

Its headline policy is to ensure that Premier League football clubs “deliver on their promise” to invest 5 per cent of television rights into the grassroots game to improve facilities and pitches.

The party will also review fan participation in sports governance and legislate for accredited supporters trusts to have the power to appoint club directors and buy shares when clubs change hands.

Professional sports clubs and authorities will be “pushed” to make sporting events more accessible to all, with a “rapid improvement” on disabled access a priority.

But there is no mention of plans for school or grassroots sport beyond this.

Implementing policy to allow safe standing at football clubs is the key sporting promise from the Liberal Democrats, who claim that they would ask the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to “prepare guidance for implementing this change”.

The Liberal Democrats also vowed to protect National Lottery funding for elite sport and put sport at the heart of a “truly rounded” school curriculum.

First published www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, by Matthew Campelli, 30 May 2017