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Army Sports Control Board

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 3 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Army Sports Control Board will next meet to discuss funding.

The board will meet next on 20 August 1992 to discuss the allocation of non-public fund grants to Army sports.

The Minister is well aware that the armed services sports body does not give a single penny to rugby league. Will he please explain why, in the list of sports and games that are supported, we find that there are apparently more people who support and provide funding for model aircraft than support and provide funding for rugby league, and why a sport that is universally recognised as a great sport gets not a single penny from the Army Sports Control Board?

The Army supports the most popular sports. There are a number of sports that are not supported by public funding and they include angling and archery, which are more popular than rugby league. Very few people want to play rugby league. The only time that a rugby league game was started off anywhere was in the Royal Air Force under a corporal at Coningsby who was very keen. He could raise only one team of 13 players, which left him with no reserves and no team against which to play. I am afraid that the evidence at the moment is that the game is not sufficiently supported by members of the armed forces.