Australia eyes British-style lottery after Rio Olympics

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Australia may look to a national lottery to provide extra Olympic funding and make its existing sports system more efficient in the wake of below-par results at the Rio Games.

Australia returned with their smallest haul of Olympic medals since Barcelona in 1992, a result which has sparked recriminations among the country's sports officials.

John Wylie, the chief of the government-backed Australian Sports Commission (ASC), said the results in Rio "came up short of expectations", but added that the ASC still backed its controversial 'Winning Edge' high-performance funding model.

Looking ahead to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Wylie told reporters Thursday: "There is no doubt we can learn and improve from the experience of the past four years and from the Rio Olympics.

"But the core principles of the strategy remain sound, valid and in the long-term interests of the Australian sport sector.

"Australia's 'Winning Edge' is built on evidence-based funding decisions, high aspirations for achievement, sports taking responsibility for their own high performance programmes and improved leadership and governance in sports organisations."

The reform plan is being pursued amidst a bitter feud between Wylie and Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and an austere economic environment.

Coates has withdrawn the AOC from an ASC review of the Canberra-based Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

He has also said the ASC policy of appointing businesspeople to head up major Olympic sports had been found wanting.

Wylie wants to establish a British-style national lottery that would generate, according to ASC estimates, additional funding of between Aus$50 million and Aus$100 million (US$38-$76 million) a year for high-performance sport programmes.

The proposed lottery would be similar to the one which has helped Britain emerge as an Olympic sporting superpower, finishing second on the Rio medals table.

"It doesn't have to be purely a sports lottery, it can be a lottery that supports a range of community causes, like you have in the UK," Wylie said.

"It's not an overnight solution but we think it will be a very important future pillar for Australian sport."

The ASC's Winning Edge funding model, introduced after the 2012 London Olympics, is aimed at opening up sports to corporate sponsors and making them less reliant on government funds.

The model uses criteria to gauge how government money is spent on sport, based partly on medal prospects.

Coates and the AOC were initially supportive but now argue there must be a greater spread of funding for all Olympic sports, and not just for a select few.

Australia finished 10th on the Rio medals table -- down from eighth in 2012 -- with eight golds and 29 medals overall, the lowest total since they won 27 at Barcelona 1992.