Tennis has millions of pounds of funding put on hold as its participation strategy is deemed "simply not strong enough"

Last Updated: 18/12/12 2:21pm

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Andy Murray: Despite a year of unprecedented success, the LTA's plan to increase participation levels was deemed "simply not strong enough"

Andy Murray: Despite a year of unprecedented success, the LTA's plan to increase participation levels was deemed "simply not strong enough"

Sky Bet

Tennis has fallen victim to Sport England's 'get tough' policy that penalises underperforming governing bodies, putting millions of pounds of funding on hold.

The strategy was revealed on Monday, alongside the new funding levels for all sports, and with the four-year plan produced by the Lawn Tennis Association for increasing participation deemed "simply not strong enough", £10.3m of its £17.4m has been put on hold.

Swimming is another sport to have three years of funding withheld until it can prove its new blueprint to increase numbers is working.

Other sports such as cycling, netball, triathlon and wheelchair basketball have all enjoyed funding rises of more than 30 percent, and all of the Paralympic sports have seen their funding increase.

Tennis suffered a significant decrease from £24.5m, awarded during the 2009-2013 period, down to £17.4m until 2017, and without a convincing new participation plan the money put on hold will be distributed in other ways, such as directly to clubs or via trusts and foundations.

Poor participation

Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said: "Tennis has not performed well in terms of participation and is broadly flat, though it got a bit of bounce in the latest figures.

"Their plan simply wasn't strong enough to justify the four-year investment.

"Our hope with tennis is that they do access the full four years. They have only a one-year award for participation and they have to improve their plan for growing participation.

"The current plan doesn't have a good delivery plan across the country, there is not a good feedback mechanism, it is not really based on customer insight but the LTA know about all these things and we are working with them."

Simon Long, the LTA's chief commercial officer, who leads the body's participation team, added: "£17.4m is a substantial potential award for British tennis, and we are working closely with Sport England to ensure that we develop the best tennis offers to increase participation, whilst continuing to deliver a leading talent programme."

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