A top-table debate considering the impact of Independence on Scottish sport was hosted at the University of Stirling.
The University’s School of Sport held the Big Sporting Question debate, which featured expert panellists including SNP MSP Shona Robison and former European Championship Gold medal winning relay runner Brian Whittle.
Commonwealth Games Scotland Chief Executive Jon Doig, the Chef de Mission of Team Scotland’s most successful ever Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014 and sport finance expert Stephen Morrow completed the panel, with the event chaired by former First Minister Henry McLeish.
Lively debate and discussion was to the fore for the select sporting audience comprising athletes, coaches, representatives from sports governing bodies, students and academics.
The audience and panellists considered the funding of high performance sport, access to facilities, Scotland’s sporting identity and the role of sport in increasing participation and addressing the health of the nation.
Professor Leigh Robinson, Head of the School of Sport, organised the debate. She said: “As sport is important to so many people, in so many ways it was important that the impact of Independence on sport was discussed. The discussion highlighted that, no matter what the outcome on 18 September, sport will play a role in unifying Scotland going forward.”
Shona Robison, arguing the positive impact of Independence on sport, said: “Scotland already competes as a nation in a number of sports, such as football, cricket and rugby, but with Independence we can represent ourselves across all sports bringing tremendous opportunity to our athletes. It will also enable us to have our own team at the Olympics and Paralympics, in the same way as we have Team Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.”
Brian Whittle, representing the case for staying together, added: “The benefit to Scottish sportsmen and women being part of a UK wide set up is plain to see. Having access to world class facilities, medical support and the financial backup that the UK brings has offered incredible opportunities to Scottish sportsmen and women. The radical change in the sporting landscape following a Yes vote would see the opportunity to participate in team sport on a world stage for Scottish men and women disappear.”
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Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence First Minister Alex Salmond designated the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2008. Our mission is to deliver the best for Scottish sport through the powerful and inspirational combination of sport and education. We are at the heart of Scottish sport, preparing athletes to perform on the world stage, enabling students to develop their skill sets for excellent careers and producing innovative research to improve the health of the nation. Our sport-centred campus brings together the people shaping Scottish sport, creating a critical mass of sporting expertise and excellence. Find out more at:www.stir.ac.uk/sport-at-stirling