Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the British Council


  The British Council is Britain's principal agency for international cultural relations. Our definition of culture includes sport.

  The British Council's recently announced new strategy is designed to ensure maximum impact overseas and to represent the full diversity of the United Kingdom. One of the main elements of the strategy will be a focus on reaching wider and younger audiences than we have hitherto targeted. Sport has an important role to play in this work.

  Sport supports our educational, cultural exchange and promotional efforts on behalf of Britain. Typical British Council sports projects have been:

    —  Training young leaders through sport in less developed countries.

    —  A conference on the social dimensions of sport, in collaboration with the Council of Europe.

    —  A touring exhibition to promote British expertise in the football industry, in particular football stadium architecture.

  We are clear that we will not duplicate the work of other UK agencies charged with promoting British sport or bidding for major events, such as the UK Sports Council and the British Olympic Association. We recognise that bids are complex affairs, best handled by the relevant sports organisation themselves.


  We hope to integrate the staging of some major events in the UK into our activities. In particular, we are exploring the possibility of Internet and face to face exchange around the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2005 Athletics World Championships. These ideas are at an early stage of development at the moment.

  Where our cultural diplomacy aims and activities coincide with those of a major bid, we will on occasion put on joint activities that support our individual country plans. However, we do not anticipate the Council playing a direct part in British bids for major events.

December 2000

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