Sport England’s Active People Survey shows that participation in football continues to decrease from 4.97% to 4.33% of the population and that 94% of participants are male. In fact, if walking is excluded, swimming is the national sport for participation, and 64% of participants are female. Running and cycling, in which the sexual division of play is also much more equal, are not far behind. This is important because the “booming national sport” narrative appears to legitimise spending more money on football than any other sport. This means Sport England funding per participant is £38 for football, but only £8 for swimming, £11 for athletics and £16 for cycling. In participation terms, football is neither the national sport nor booming. So, in what way does this constitute financial fair play?
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