Power of sport

THE World Cup-winning exploits of Mike Tindall, the Otley-born rugby player now engaged to the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, have obviously made a favourable impression on the Royal family, with the importance of grassroots sport underpinning Her Majesty's traditional Christmas message.

Her remarks could not be more timely. For, while the Queen has, to her eternal credit, always remained non-political, her remarks must force the coalition to reappraise its approach to grassroots sport. In a week when the Government capitulated over its planned cuts to school sport, Her Majesty highlights how sport can be a force for good by bringing together young people from different cultures.

Yet without basic facilities such as a playing field, and some equipment, however rudimentary, this is not possible. The lasting legacy of the 2012 Olympics was supposed to be a revolution in community sport. And, if the coalition chooses to ignore the Queen, perhaps Her Majesty could send her granddaughter's future husband to rugby tackle the necessary Ministers – literally – before this opportunity is lost.