Sports bodies in independence talks

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: Scottish athletes could be pitted against former team-mates if the country becomes independent Scottish athletes could be pitted against former team-mates if the country becomes independent

Hundreds of sports governing bodies are set to come together to discuss the implications of Scottish independence for funding, facilities and representation.

The future of Team GB, elite funding, Lottery funding and training facilities are among the questions to be addressed by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the umbrella organisation for more than 320 sport governing bodies including The FA, the Rugby Football Union and UK Athletics.

The alliance is bringing the organisations together to discuss the implications of independence for their sports in light of concerns that the future of sport is being ignored amid the wrangling over issues such as European Union membership, currency and citizenship.

The Commonwealth Games, which begin today in Glasgow, could be "a dry run" for a future where the UK no longer unites to cheer on Team GB, according to the alliance.

Scottish athletes could be pitted against former team-mates and high-profile Scottish athletes may soon be having to make the choice between playing for Team GB or Team Scotland, it said.

James Allen, head of policy at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: "Independence could throw up some real issues for sport and who to support is just the start of it.

"It raises all sorts of questions. What would happen to elite funding? Would National Lottery funding stop at the border? Would Scottish training camps be the same or better as those currently provided at a UK level?

"Politicians are yet to talk about the effects of independence on sport despite the huge role that sport plays on national identity.

"The alliance is now bringing sports organisations together to determine how we can tackle these issues."

A recent report on the continuing development of Scottish sport, including the impact of independence, led by former Labour first minister Henry McLeish, concluded that there are "no obvious or major barriers" to securing full status for a Scottish Olympic and Paralympic team in time for Rio 2016.

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