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Ideas with a high sporting impact PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 November 2007




From judo to the pentathlon, Britain's sports associations are tapping corporate expertise in their quest for Olympic glory.

It is a Sunday morning in May and dozens of men and women are converging on a conference room in British Airways' Waterside headquarters from nearby Heathrow airport. Some arrive in company shuttle buses and tuck into the buffet breakfast that is laid on before their meeting gets under way. A company photographer is on hand to capture salient moments.

It appears to be just another set of executives putting in extra hours for the benefit of their employer. Except these are not BA staff but representatives of the skiing and snowboarding fraternity. And this is not a BA function but the twice-yearly congress of SnowsportGB, the UK's governing body for winter sports.

The sports body is using BA's facilities thanks to a bond forged between the two organisations as part of an innovative scheme devised by the British Olympic Association.

Under pressure to help engineer a big improvement in the performance of British athletes by 2012, when London will host the summer Olympics, the association has come up with the FTSE-BOA Partnership Programme. This aims to help sports governing bodies accelerate their development, not by persuading companies to write large cheques, as under the traditional sponsorship model, but by tapping directly into what should be their core expertise: good management. The BOA believes such a scheme is unique in the world.

So far 11 sports, from boxing to the modern pentathlon, have been paired up with blue-chip companies (see below), with the intention of forging long-term bonds that could push Britain up the medals table.

Read the full story in the FT

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