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For the first time in four years, Lancaster University’s Students’ Union will be reviewing the six current ‘focus sports’ as part of the new sports model implementation.
Recent reports have revealed that the six current focus sports (which benefit from additional funding for high level coaching, additional competitions, physiotherapy, and strength & conditioning sessions) are under review. Not only are these clubs under review but LUSU will be reducing the number of focus sports from six to five.
Who are the current focus sports?
The current focus sports are: badminton, hockey (men’s & women’s), fencing, swimming & water polo, rugby (men’s & women’s), and netball.
Each of these clubs have achieved some tremendous feats over the past four years. Both men’s & women’s rugby were promoted to league 1A last year and won their 1st team fixtures at Roses 2022. Swimming & water polo have competed at a national level for several years now and hockey have piloted an outstanding development program to encourage players of all abilities.
However, all six current focus sports will now have to compete against every Sports Lancaster club and sporting society that chooses to apply to become a focus sport.
Who’s applying so far?
Fencing, hockey and swimming & water polo have confirmed that they will be re-applying.
However, other clubs have also expressed an interest. The Boat Club, the Canoe Club, football, tennis, and equestrian have all told SCAN they will be taking the chance to apply.
A LUSU Spokesperson confirmed, “Focus sports/clubs have received further sports development monies than standard clubs in recent years so if a [current] club did not re-apply to be a focus sport, they would no longer be considered a focus sport in the future and would be treated as every other Sports Lancaster club.”
For a sports club to be considered a focus sport “more is expected from them in terms of development, engagement, performance and results” – according to an SU spokesperson.
So, what are the criteria?
LUSU has confirmed that the sporting performance of a club over recent years will be one of the considerations.
This comes alongside a range of other criteria:
- Engagement levels across the sporting pathway (not just at varsity level)
- Attitude, behaviour, and conduct
- Existing infrastructure
- Relationships with National Governing bodies
Who can apply to be a focus sport?
Although the process for reapplication is still in development, LUSU has confirmed that they will be briefing all Sport Lancaster clubs and sporting societies about how they can apply to be at each level of the sporting pathway.
They claim that every Sport Lancaster club and sporting society has been invited to the consultation meetings that have been held so far.
However, several claim they were never contacted.
Sporting societies Pole Fitness and Underwater Hockey both told SCAN they had received no emails about the application process. And neither has the Canoe Club, a Sports Lancaster registered club.
All three only heard about the focus sport application news through SCAN enquiries.
Since no information has been released publicly about the review of focus sports, other clubs outside of the current focus sports may also not have been informed.
The latest news on focus sport applications
LUSU has since confirmed that before applications go out to apply for focus sport status, they will be communicating with every club again. However, no further details on when this communication will occur have been released.