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……..