Sir Roger Bannister is confident that money needed for the sports scholarship scheme he recommended this week will be made available.
The Report of the Working Group of University Sports Scholarships calls for the Sports Council to devote about 10 per cent of its National Lottery revenue to funding elite athletes, and for about a third of this - Pounds 10 million in England - to be given to university sports scholarships. While no formal decision has been taken, Sir Roger said the national sports councils were clearly favourably disposed.
The working group's research incorporated examination of the American and German sports scholarship model and a questionnaire for top-class university- educated sport-smen and women. This found that while 77 per cent felt they had improved as performers, many felt this had been achieved in spite rather than because of their universities.
There were complaints of financial pressures, lack of facilities, failure to integrate the competing demands of university and club teams and inflexible academic schedules. Most were unable to devote the 20 hours per week to training required to succeed.
Sir Roger said: "We should never forget that universities are for work, but many students possess rare talents in different fields and there is no reason why they should not combine these talents with their studies."