§ Mr. Macfarlane
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the sporting centres of excellence as at 30th September 1976; what is the criteria by which they have been approved; and if he will list all the establishments to whom he wrote in early 1976 urging their participation as a centre of excellence.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
There are three essential requirements for the establishment of a sporting centre of excellence:' top-class coaching, suitable facilities, and a sufficient number of talented people to make the centre a viable unit and provide a stimulus for one another. Centres meeting these requirements are already in existence, some for many years past. My objective is that their number and the range of activities covered should be extended so as to provide much greater opportunities for gifted sports people.
In March 1976 I wrote to all universities, polytechnics and colleges of further education in England and Wales asking them what contribution they could make to the achievement of this objective. The response was very encouraging and regional sports councils throughout the country are co-ordinating proposals for new centres. A number of detailed proposals are under consideration and I am hopeful that some new centres will come into being within a few months.