Giving youngsters a sporting chance


The England cricket team celebrate their World Cup triump

 The England cricket team celebrate their World Cup triumph. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

Sean Ingle misses the whole pattern of the failure of the Women’s World Cup and other tournaments to be able to recharge youth participation in sport (Lionesses inspire us all but heroes alone cannot make a nation sporty, 9 July). It is clear and present following football. Now cricket raises expectations.

Following big investment in events by governments, a period of austerity happens as they try to “rebalance” public spending. That is the pattern worldwide. Thus the very services that support and encourage participation, such as playing fields and youth clubs, and even school budgets, suffer. This pattern extends over countries that are market dominated and where investment is constrained unless it is directly profitable.

Level-one football coaches in schools have dropped 65% since the 2010 World Cup. Over 10,000 playing fields have gone in the past 40 years. Much after-school coaching is by teachers in their own time and without sport qualification, and the teachers are under increasing academic pressures. Schools continue to lose playing fields to developers, and councils continue to close them.
Nick Jeffrey
London School of Economics, (Ex-assistant manager, Inner London Schools FA; ex-manager Blackheath District Schools FA; past affiliated scout, Millwall and Arsenal Football Clubs)

 Barney Ronay is curious as to how English cricket builds on this World Cup triumph (By the narrowest of margins, England finally find a way to win, 15 July). The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) will call the shots. It knows that Sky’s funding has been fundamental in paying for the contracts that have underpinned the making of this winning team, something a terrestrial provider would not be able to match on its own.

If the ECB wants to spread its coverage to the terrestrial network that will give the game more exposure but there will be less money – and maybe less success – as a result.

Irrespective of TV rights, all the ECB can do is work with charitable bodies like Chance to Shine to promote cricket in state schools and clubs and hope the unsung and unpaid heroes at grassroots level continue their work.

Without volunteers the game will die and those who coached the likes of Ben Stokes, Joe Root et al when they started, should take a bow.
David Rimmer
Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire