Performance determined funding in judo

I had a conversation today that made me think about player funding. In the ideal world we would be able to select our players for the next Olympic games four years out and fund them all the way up to the Olympic games thus providing financial certainty but is it really possible to know four years before who will perform? You would think that if you selected 4 players in each group you would have you Olympian within the four but is this really the case? Lets look at the current British team who MIGHT go to London:

Sophie Cox – who could have predicted her coming out of retirement?

Colin Oates – Who would have predicted his amazing rise over these four years?

Euan Burton – Many might have guessed Euan, but many would have bet against him because of his age

Hayley Willis – no-one could have seen this coming, not for London anyway

Whether you agree or disagree the point is it is very hard to determine four years before and I am not saying any of these players deserve or don’t deserve etc it is not about that, it is about predicability and judo is very very unpredictable.

So if we cannot know who is likely to be going how do we fund them?

Weel under the current system players are funded in many ways based upon performance and world and Olympic level but there are many grudges about funding so I thought I would put an idea forward.

Player Determined Funding


This is in many ways similar to what we have now, you perform well you get money but instead of the complex system we currently have it would be much more transparent. I would distribute money in much the same way as world ranking points, you would get money for a fight won, 5th, 7th, bronze, silver and gold and the money would be fixed for an entire Olympic cycle.

You would need to start low down in order to create a developmental ladder, lets say the trials. I would then ward fixed price prize money at European cup, World cup, Grand slam, European, World champs and Olympic etc So if you win the trials, for example, you would receive £1000 on the day, on the podium. Maybe European cup is £2000 for gold etc etc

One issue is the financial certainty of the players, if you ward prize money they never really know what income they have and when, this is an issue. Maybe you could say that players who win a world cup medal or European champs medal, world medal will receive £500 per month for x months on top of the prize money.

I would most definitely give prize money for the trial, probably even medals at ranking events. This would mean the top players attend and fight which would create more depth in domestic events.

Tesco Points cards

The other thing I wold consider is is system like tescos vouchers, for example if you spend £10 of your reward money on a European cup the BJA will make it up to £15, if you spend £10 on a World cup the BJA make is £20. This way players can realistically self fund world cups and European cups. You might also include other things player regularly have to pay for.

Players already can win prize money at world cups etc and it is common in other sports such as tennis, I truly think we have a problem with the way British judo players are funded (and this is in many cases because of UK sport not the BJA) and we need solution, this is just an idea off the top of my head, any other ideas would be more than welcome, please comment……..

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16 Comments

Filed under Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Judo, Uncategorized

16 responses to “Performance determined funding in judo

  1. Lance

    Hi,
    A good post Bob. I’d be curious as to how the US system works. They seem to be the nation that have mastered the transition from national level to international level best. They are producing consistently performing and improving athletes and I don’t believe they are particularly well funded(?).

    I like your first idea, extending “prize” money downwards. A small reward at low level that grows as you do better and better seems a great way of building your pathway.
    It would be great if our players at BUCS this month got a financial reward from the NGB if they do well. They might go hey it I do this other event I might get more. They might chase the prizes and find themselves competing at harder and harder events.

    Of course, as you know, I don’t like a system based on position in category. 😉

    The tesco card thing I am less keen on, though I think I see the positive aspect you have in mind. Rather than having to find all the money you only need to find some.

    Lastly, I think maybe funding based on a longterm plan is required. Wills and Yeats-Brown I personally feel have been over competed and presumably funded in 2011. I’d have preferred that they had received funding in 2011 solely for cadets. The. This year funding for the next band up. This is in part as it would spread funding further and also reinforce the idea that a Judo career is a marathon not a sprint.

    Those two young ladies for example need funding over a planned longterm. Not to compete in everything going as they were eligible.
    Beyond he scope of a discussion on funding that one.

    That said, with better spread of resources over time ima better planned manner my feeling is the incredible funds we have had at our disposal in recent years could have delivered much much more.
    For me funding is like manure or water in the garden. Too little and it does not work. Too much and it does not work. Wrong time and it does not work. Not regular and it does not work.

    In a post London2012 world, we will have less money to spread arou d so this discussion is really vital.

  2. I am a big believer in pay for performance. If you win a medal, you get money. As for not being able to count on an income, well, that is true, but if you get 2,000 and spend it at 500 each month for the next four months, then it is sort of an income. I run a consulting company and that is how we work – we get a large payment, we pay the bills with it.

    I think the idea of matching funds players self-fund to events is a very good idea. If you want to encourage players to compete, treating money they spent on attending an event differently than money they spent buying beer makes a lot of sense.

  3. David Finch

    Why don’t we follow the German system where the majority of top players, men and women, are employed in the Bundespolizei ( http://bit.ly/Bunderspolizei ) or a similar public institution. They then have a full time job for their future CV, time to train and study and the public support they need.

    If anybody wants to interview the German Olympic judo team about this they will be training at the Budokwai from the 24th July to the 2nd August. Judo is a large and well funded sport in Germany with several Olympic champions including Ole Bischof who is expected to be in the team to defend his 81kgs title.

    Interestingly the Budokwai ran summer schools in Germany in the thirties to teach Judo in preference to their early taste for jui-jitsu. We have now gone full circle and a German and former world champion, Daniel Lascau, is in charge of the British Olympic team.

    • Llyr Jones

      Daniel Lascau is a naturalised German. He was born in Oradea in Romania and his judo was nurtured and developed in that country, not Germany.

      • Yes but Daniel moved to Germany around the age of 17years and after competing he worked within he German Judo federation in a performance director type role, I think this is more what David is talking about.

    • I 100% agree with a bundersliger type system, I would advocate this over any other system. I even presented on this last year at the BUCS conference. Too many sceptics though.

  4. Debbie Keeble

    you have to be selected for most World cups/self fund, selected for, selected for, selected for….getting selected is a problem in this country, criteria movement, training consideration and personal feelings to performance, I really beleive in performance related pay but the people selecting have to know what they are looking at first.

    • I agree selection is an issue but I think this is being dealt with much better now and will be much more transparent in the run up to Rio.

      Most players have been to more world cups since xmas than in the year before lol

      • David Finch

        That is because they need the seeding points. The previous administration didn’t understand the importance of points and seeding to avoid the best players in the opening match. We might be able to field up to 14 players as the host nation but if they have no points then they will face the top seeds in their first match. Do they really want to be there to say ‘I was an Olympian’ and went out in their first match.

      • Yeah I agree, I don’t think one British player will be seeded.

        The former administration did know this, we sat with a certain person and explained it very clearly in 2009 after the worlds. In my opinion the issue was their lack of understanding of managing athletes and therefore the used selections as a way of trying to control.

      • debbie keeble

        self funded

      • I am not sure that is true….

        There were 7 players sent to Sofia, 9 players to Tbilisi, 7 to Paris, 7 to Budapest, 9 to Oberwart, 7 to Dusseldorf, 7 to Warsaw, 9 to Prague, all of these were funded I believe, is this not the case?

        Then players who had produced European cup medals in 2010/2011 could apply to self-fund.

        Is this not fair? If they can’t win a European cup medal should we pay of them to go to a world cup? Yet of they really believe they can win a world cup medal they have the chance to prove it.

  5. xavier

    What happens if a judo player get injured, for instance, ACL? He will not receive any money? I mean, you have been fighting for a year and due to an injury you must stop training, what happen with you? how do you pay your expenses? You can’t forget that being a elite judo player is a job, sometimes you get results sometimes you don’t. They fight for getting results not only for earning money otherwise for themselves.

    • I agree but they are in no better position now, in fact it is worse because many of the injured players live in hope they will get funded but normally have it removed. At least this way they know – no fighting, no medals.

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