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1995 - Mr Major’s Comments on Sport

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on sport, made in an interview on Tuesday 19th December 1995.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if how his Raising the Game strategy was progressing].

PRIME MINISTER:

It is moving forward, it is moving on quite a number of fronts. The core of it of course, the root of it, is to steadily increase the amount of sport that is available to young people both in school and of course at club level. And one of the ways of achieving that is increasing the relationship between clubs and between schools. It is part of a carefully integrated network. Raise the amount of sport in schools, raise the amount of sport in clubs, have a better inter-relationship with them, provide more funding through the lottery in order to provide better facilities, either at school, some of whom have had very successful bids for the lottery, and also in clubs.

One of the unsung areas of the lottery so far has been the enormous number of rugby clubs, football clubs, athletic clubs, cricket clubs, who have had relatively small awards but awards that meant a proper pitch or proper facilities of some sort to enable them to continue their interest in whichever game they happen to follow and the growth of it.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked how his aim of 2 hours a week physical education for each child was progressing].

PRIME MINISTER:

It is on the way to happening and it is going to happen, we are determined that it will happen. I think it is as important a part of a child’s upbringing to have proper leisure and sporting activities and choice as it is to teach them maths and English. And I think over the last 20-25 years we have lost a great deal in our education because sport, to a very large extent, in the state sector was sidelined. I believe that was wrong. I believe it was wrong because it takes away from children an opportunity of learning something they would love for life, and I think also it is extremely good for their physical and mental development to have the opportunity of playing games. So I am determined that increasingly that will come back into schools.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked why the emphasis on team games].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think that team games are an integral part of British history. Some sports are essentially a sport for individual performance - running, jumping, for example. But the majority of traditional games in this country - cricket, rugby, soccer, netball, hockey, whatever it may be - are team games. And I think at school people learn to relate better one with the other if they learn to take part in those team games, they are central to the nature and type of country that we are, and I wish to ensure that younger continue that tradition in the future.