0 Funding threat to tennis and football as participation drops

Tennis and football have been warned that part of their public funding is at risk after both sports suffered big drops in participation in England.

Sport England, which distributes Lottery money at grassroots level, says tennis has failed to capitalise on Andy Murray's Wimbledon win in July.

Football is now fourth behind athletics and cycling in terms of participation, with swimming the most popular.

A total of 15.426m people play sport each week, up 206,000 from April.

Sport England claim the figures mean the original boost from the London 2012 Olympics has been maintained.

"We operate a payment for results scheme so football are definitely in the at-risk zone" says Jenni Price Sport England chief executive

However, the numbers of people participating in sport is actually down 50,600 on the 15,512,500 from this time last year.

Sport England intends to hold meetings with both the Lawn Tennis Association and Football Association before deciding in January whether up to 20% of their funding will be suspended.

Tennis, which earlier this year had a £530,000 funding cut imposed, could lose more of its £17.4m four-year award after participation fell from 423,400 in April to 406,000.

Football's participation numbers are down to 1.83m, a drop of 100,000 since April. Its 2013-17 funding award was £30m.

"We are very disappointed by football's results and the FA really need to grasp this," said Sport England chief executive Jenni Price.

"There is now to be a discussion with the FA and our board, but we operate a payment for results scheme so football are definitely in the at-risk zone."

FA general secretary Alex Horne said his organisation had to work to do.

"Understanding and reversing the fall in participation is an immediate and top priority," he said.

"We are working exhaustively with Sport England and our other partners to ensure the right plans and programmes are in place to achieve this."

Price said the tennis results were also disappointing but felt the LTA was at least attempting to address the issue.

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