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Sports Development Foundation giving a lot but it's still not enough

Published:Saturday | January 29, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Major Desmon Brown

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

The Sports Development Foundation (SDF) has dished out in excess of $403.8 million to local sporting associations and government agencies over the past two years, according to figures obtained by The Gleaner. However, according to SDF chief Major Desmon Brown, this is not enough.

Over $251 million was allocated to 43 local sporting associations, while a further $152.8 million was spent towards the programmes of several government agencies and institutions such as the Institute of Sports and the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sports over the two-year period.

Brown bemoaned his association's inability to do more in terms of its allocations to the different associations and the general failings of corporate Jamaica to fully appreciate the value of sports.

"Our major concern at this moment is that we really don't have more to give to the associations because they really need much more than we can afford to give them," said Brown. "We are struggling to get corporate Jamaica to understand the importance of sport to society. It is a major tool for social intervention and sport teaches valuable life lessons and it's time corporate Jamaica in general understand and appreciate this more."

Brown, however, assured that the agency remains committed to its tasks.

"Recognising the importance of sports to the society, the SDF remains committed to play its part in the process both at the grassroots level but particularly at the national level," said Brown.

Spending less

It should be noted that the SDF - which is funded by 40 per cent of the lotteries-financed Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund - spent marginally less last year, handing out about $6 million less to sporting associations in 2010 than it did in the previous year. The agency also contributed $122.4 million last year compared to $128.5 million in 2009, resulting in a sum of $251 million over the two-year period.

Comparatively, the agency spent four million less last year on government agencies, forking out $84.5 million in 2010 compared to $88.4 million in the previous year.

"We get a percentage from the Government's proceeds from the gaming industry and when that proceeds go down, so does our income, we don't have a fixed income and there was a decrease in the amount that was available to us last year," Brown explained.

Unsurprisingly, the Jamaica Football Federation commanded the lion's share of the funding, collecting $32 million in 2009 and just over $24 million in 2010 for a grand total of $56 million over the last two years. This pales in comparison to the $1.2 million received by other associations such as the Jamaica Chess Federation or the $2.4 million given to the Jamaica Rugby Union over the period.

Second largest disbursement

The Jamaica Cricket Association received the second largest disbursement with a total of $31.5 million ($10.4 million in 2009 and $21.1 million in 2010) over the two years, while the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association ($16.1 million and $8.6 million) was assisted with $24.7 million (for their programmes.

Just under $18 million was turned over to the Jamaica Netball Association, $9.5 million in 2009 and $8.2 million last year, while the Jamaica Amateur Basketball Association ($8.6 million and $6.6 million) rounded off the top five with $15.2 million.

Government institutions such as the GC Foster College of Physical Education, Social Development Commission (SDC), Independence Park Limited and the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) also received less over the last 12-month period.

INSPORTS, which was established to help the development of sports at the grassroots level and are responsible for numerous community-based sporting competitions across the island were given $103 million over the two years with the SDC being assisted to the tune of $33 million and the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, $16.6 million.