A furious row has broken out over Â£300,000 of taxpayersâ€™ money being spent on bringing elite Australian swimmers to Manchester â€“ as public baths in the city face being shut in budget cuts.
The cash is being paid to Swimming Australia Ltd to cover the cost of hosting the Aussie team in Manchester for major sports events in Britain.
As part of the deal, swimmers chose Manchester as their base ahead of last summerâ€™s London Olympics and will return for next yearâ€™s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. [â€¦]
Levenshulme councillor James Hennigan said: â€œI would much rather the money was spent on nurturing our home-grown talent rather than it being passed to the Australians. Itâ€™s disgusting that they are making this cheque out.â€
Campaigner Kirsten Hobby, from Save Levenshulme Baths, said the money should have been spent on local facilities rather than a â€˜showboatingâ€™ project. [â€¦]
The payments were also queried by former Australian swimming team coach Bill Sweetenham, who said the Aussies had done â€˜extremely wellâ€™ out of the deal.
Speaking from New Zealand, Mr Sweetenham said: â€œItâ€™s common practice for countries to offer the use of facilities in kind, like free or cheap pool space, but it doesnâ€™t usually involve money changing hands.â€
Anger in Manchester as council spends Â£300k on hosting Australians