Grass-roots sports clubs and charities have suffered a slump in income over the past eight years, according to new research.
The Charities Aid Foundation, which published the figures, warned that the Olympic sporting legacy was at risk of evaporating before it had begun because of the funding shortage.
CAF said that sports clubs and charities with annual incomes of below £100,000 were the worst affected and had seen a fall of 15 per cent in their incomes since 2004.
But larger sports organisations, with annual incomes of more than £100,000, fared better in the study, reporting a 3 per cent increase in funding during the same period.
CAF analysed the financial returns of 1,624 amateur sports clubs and charities over eight years to compile the figures.
The grim outlook for the Olympic sporting legacy was further highlighted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s 2011 sports club survey. It found that smaller organisations had few resources with which to weather the difficult economic climate and were struggling to recruit and retain members, putting further pressure on their income.
Richard Harrison, director of research at CAF, said: "While larger charities have, on the whole, managed to stay afloat financially, our research shows that we need people to keep backing local sports clubs and charities as well, to ensure they can continue to support grass-roots sport and all the other causes we care about."The past eight years have been tough for many grass-roots sports clubs and charities, despite the growing sense of excitement about the Olympics and the desire to secure a long-term sporting legacy."