Until last week, that’s how much funding the Pararoos, our Australian Paralympic Football team, received.
They used that money to successfully launch a team made up of players with cerebral palsy or acquired brain injuries. With $175,000 the team could participate in a few national camps per year, as well as an international camp.
They’re currently ranked 12th in the world. Recently, they’ve managed a silver medal in the UAE (the gold went to Iran, who are ranked third in the world), a silver medal at the Fespic Asian games in Malaysia and a silver medal at the ARAFURA games in Darwin.
And yet it’s been decided that the Pararoos still haven’t been performing well enough. So their funding has been cut completely by the Australian Sports Commission.
They now have exactly $0.00 to keep the team going. Zero.
To explain further – since being founded in 1998, the Pararoos qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and came in 8th place. Since then, they haven’t qualified for any Olympic Games – although they are currently ranked 12th in the world, which really isn’t terrible when you compare them to the Socceroos, who are currently ranked 62nd.
But this doesn’t matter to the Australian Sports Commission. This is because they have a policy called “Winning Edge”, where they target investment towards sports and teams that are the most likely to perform well through the summer and winter Olympics, the Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games.
As the Pararoos haven’t qualified for a Games since 2000, they’ve been cut. Matthew Favier, the head of the Australian Sports Commission, told Fairfax that there was little evidence that the team would qualify for the 2016 Rio games:
“We don’t believe there’s a sufficiently strong case … so we have removed our funding… We’re very clear about the aspiration we’ve set, reflected through the targets. We’re unapologetic about that.”
As ABC reports, the Winning Edge policy has highly rewarded sports which did well at the 2012 Olympics, such as sailing and canoeing. Other sports, and Paralympic sports, have been left out in the cold: