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swimThe Welsh Sports Association (WSA) was founded in 1972, initially as a sub committee of the Sports Council of Wales, but is now an independent body that represents and supports all of the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport and physical recreation in Wales.

Since its inception, the WSA has effectively been the ‘umbrella’ organisation for the NGBs of sport in Wales. Its members are primarily drawn from those governing bodies which, in the main, have traditionally been managed by volunteers. Moreover, the governing bodies have been the backbone of Welsh sport, discharging responsibility for administration, membership services, coach development, training of officials and domestic competition programmes up to national level.

Over recent years the WSA’s constituent member bodies have seen a huge increase in workload. Whilst some are now overseen by salaried staff, others remain dependent on the goodwill of volunteers. Even within those NGBs with specialist paid staff, the level of commitment, responsibility and time required of volunteers can be extremely onerous. Most NGBs are beset by financial fragility; constantly seeking out alternative income streams to reduce the dependence on Exchequer funding, but the pressure on NGBs and their volunteers is exacerbated by the blame culture, fear of litigation, burgeoning legislation, regulation and expectation.

Essentially, the governing bodies aim, through enhanced corporate governance, to increase membership levels in their sport and to produce elite performers through an organised and robust sports development model. However, they are becoming increasingly sidetracked by a raft of legislation, good practice guidelines and even inappropriate and unintended legislation and regulation.

The WSA has four principal audiences with which it seeks to gain influence, credibility and advancement:

The Membership
WSA seeks to cultivate an open, responsive and interdependent relationship with all its members.

Welsh Assembly Government & Sport Wales
Both of these organizations have responsibility for sports policy development, and require a consistent and comprehensive consultative service from the Association.

Other Agencies
Both in sport and from the wider voluntary sector, public and commercial bodies who offer beneficial partnerships and support networks that complement the Association’s operations.

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