MEMBERS of a Penarth karate club waved banners and placards as part of a mass protest over funding on the weekend.

Lee Costa, who has been teaching karate in Penarth for more than 30 years, took his students to Sport Wales’ headquarters at Sophia Gardens on Sunday to take part in the protest.

Both his group Welsh Karate Jutsu Kai, based at Penarth Leisure Centre, and Welsh Shotokan Karate Association, based in Grangetown, were protesting over their failed applications for community chest funding to help pay for safety equipment and coaching courses.

Both karate clubs have been refused applications for funding as they are members of the Karate Wales Governing Body rather than the recognised Welsh Karate Governing Body (WKGB).

Welsh Shotokan Karate Association has been refused by Sport Wales because it is not a member of a recognised governing body, while Welsh Karate Jutsu Kai has been refused applications for funding by the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the same reason.

A spokeswoman from Sport Wales said that it was “actively encouraging negotiation between all parties” and expected “a swift and positive outcome”.

A spokeswoman from the Vale Council said that for safety reasons only clubs affiliated to the national governing body of their sport were able to apply for funding and that they were unable to change the eligibility criteria.

She added that the Vale Council’s Sports and Play Development team are “working with the clubs in question to offer support in other areas, where requested”.

A petition has been launched calling for all karate clubs to be eligible for funding “irrespective of karate association affiliation”.

The petition, launched earlier this week and aiming for 500 signatures, states: “We believe all children should be eligible to receive a grant for provision for safety equipment, irrespective of the internal politics of the Sports Council, governing bodies and sports associations.

“We demand that Sports Council of Wales reconsider the granting of funds for the provision of safety equipment via the Community Chest scheme.”

A spokeswoman from Sport Wales said: "Sport Wales is aware of the current circumstances and we are actively encouraging negotiation between all parties and have engaged the services of Sports Resolutions - the independent dispute resolution service for sport in the UK. We expect all parties to work in the best interests of the sport and we expect a swift and positive outcome."

The petition can be signed at: