Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Foreign Coaches or Stick with Brits? the Jury Is Still out on the Value of Hiring Coaches from Abroad, an Issue That Is Sure to Be Brought to a Head This Summer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Foreign Coaches or Stick with Brits? the Jury Is Still out on the Value of Hiring Coaches from Abroad, an Issue That Is Sure to Be Brought to a Head This Summer

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN WARNER

THE controversy over Bill Sweetenham's running of swimming has re-ignited the fierce debate over whether foreign coaches are really the answer to Britain's sporting problems.

The value of hiring foreign expertise is likely to become a huge issue during 2006.

If England fail to perform well at the World Cup finals in June and July, those who criticised the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson are likely to call for the Swede's head.

With British athletics struggling in the doldrums, there have also been demands for foreign coaches to be brought in to find and develop athletes capable of winning medals at the 2012 London Olympics.

Crucial decisions must be made in the next 12 months across a range of Olympic sports with Britain under pressure to make sure that the host nation wins medals.

At the turn of the new millennium, the governing bodies of football, cricket, swimming and tennis turned their backs on coaches from our shores and looked abroad for an answer to their woes.

While Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher is a success story after leading England to last summer's Ashes success, the jury is still out on Eriksson who has yet to get England to the last stages of a major tournament.

Frenchman Patrice Hagelauer did not last long as performance director of the Lawn Tennis Association and has returned home.

Despite his tough talking, Australian Sweetenham has hardly caused a turnaround in British swiming and has been the subject of an inquiry into bullying, though he was cleared. German Jurgen Grobler has orchestrated many British medals in Olympic rowing, but Englishman Peter Keen was the key figure behind cycling's renaissance, one of the most successful British sports stories in recent years.

The RFU's decision to appoint Clive Woodward in 1997 proved sound, but he is full of praise for his performance director Chris Spice, a former Australian hockey player who played a key role in helping England win the World Cup.

FOOTBALL

. SVEN- GORAN ERIKSSON'S appointment as the first foreign national team coach split the football world and the final verdict on his success will only be judged at this year's World Cup in Germany. …

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