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Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

I have had no recent discussions with Sport England regarding financial support for lacrosse. The English Lacrosse Association has received over £1.6 million since 2005 from Sport England. Of this, £1.26 million is to support the delivery of the lacrosse whole sport plan during 2005-09. Sport England will soon begin discussions with the English Lacrosse Association for its whole sport plan 2009-13 and the associated funding.

Lacrosse is a very popular sport in my constituency; indeed, four of the men’s under-19 team live in Stockport. However, while it is recognised as a development sport and funded at club level, it is not recognised as an Olympic sport, so players cannot get funding from UK Sport for international events. The young men going to compete in the world championships in British Columbia in July are having to fund themselves. In the current review of Sport England, will the Minister consider introducing flexibility in its funding remit so that a sport that has financial support at club level is also properly funded at international level?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue and for the work that she does for the English Lacrosse Association, particularly in the north-west. I pay tribute to the youngsters who are going through to the world championships. She has hit on an issue that we have to deal with. These people have fallen through the gap in terms of the relationship between Sport England and UK Sport. UK Sport funds élite-level Olympic sports and Sport England deals with development sports. Following the review, I will undertake to look at what can be done to support lacrosse as an élite sport through UK Sport. This must also be accommodated in the whole sport plans that we have to develop with Sport England. I will be back in touch with my hon. Friend in due course.