After lengthy deliberations, involving meetings on 58 separate days, the ‘Wolfenden Report on Sport’ was finally published in the autumn of 1960. The Report was quite short, at little over a hundred pages, but was immediately received as being erudite, balanced and wide-ranging. It began with an assessment of the value of sport, which was described as a contribution to ‘decent living together in society’, valuable in its own right but also delivering social benefits such as ‘character building’. It covered several areas in depth, including the provision of facilities, coaching, organization, amateurism, international sport and the so-called gap, the break between taking part in games at school and participating as an adult. In weighing up the ‘present picture’, the Report acknowledged several positive features of the sporting landscape: the general rise in numbers taking part in many sports, the sterling work done by unpaid volunteers and the good quality provision in schools. But while not everything found overseas was worthy of imitation, ‘we are convinced that we have a great deal to learn, particularly in the planning, construction and use of facilities’.
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