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A question of sport: top projects under threat as plummeting Lottery ticket sales hits funding

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A raft of high-profile sports projects are under threat from the decline in National Lottery ticket sales. Lottery cash distributor Sport England has confirmed that it is reviewing 'all its current commitments as part of an investigation into cash-saving measures'.

Among the projects threatened are FaulknerBrown's plans for a 50m Olympic-standard swimming pool in Newcastle and the practice's £6.4 million National Yachting Centre in Weymouth (AJ 1.5.03).

And a spokesman for the government quango refused to rule out a rearrangement of its funding deal on David Morley's National Cricket Academy in Loughborough and BDP's National Football Centre in Burton-on-Trent.

Sport England has seen its Lottery funding fall from £280 million in 1998 to a 'reassessed figure' in 2003 of £170 million, sparking a question mark over whether it has 'over-committed itself '.

And Sport England's Bridgid Symmonds, the chair of the Lottery Panel, the committee that will decide the schemes' future on Friday, said that the problem has been looming for some time and has 'caused a lot of concern'.

'But if a construction scheme can take 18 months to even get on site, ' she said, 'it causes us a problem because we do not know how much money we have to spend that far in advance.'

Schemes hoping for funding in Scotland are not immune from the problem. A spokesman for Sportscotland said it too had suffered a fall in resources and 'refused to rule out' a similar review.

The department of Culture, Media and Sport agreed that the decline in Lottery spending has 'created a vacuum' but said that it is working hard to plug the financial gaps.

For the latest news on which schemes have been affected, visit www. ajplus. co. uk

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