Source: AAP

Olympics chief John Coates has fired a controversial salvo in the battle over sports funding by comparing a list of so-called "national ethos" sports to the White Australia policy.

Coates took a further shot at the Crawford report, which has highlighted a funding bias in favour of Olympic sports and suggested more money should go to mass participation sports which typify the Australian psyche, such as netball, cricket, tennis, golf, the various football codes and surfing.

"To say that some sports are part of the national ethos and some are not is almost going back to the White Australia days," the Australian Olympic Committee president told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have got sports that are evolving and are of interest to our new population, particularly those coming from Asia who are very keen on sports such as table tennis and badminton.

"They should have that opportunity," he said after chairing a meeting that included Olympians Robert de Castella and Chris Fydler, called to formulate a response to the Crawford report for the federal government.

"We think the diversity of sports available to Australians should continue," Mr Coates said.

"We have evolved as a society, particularly in the last 20 or 30 years.

"We have a very multicultural society with different interests in sport.

"We don't think we should go down the route that the East Germans went when they specialised."

Coates said the meeting was "made a lot easier for us" by federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis's recent statement that there would be additional funding for community sport as well as Olympic and Paralympic sport.

"It is not going to be a question of one or the other, as we were led to believe as we looked at the Crawford report, had that been taken up," he said.

Businessman David Crawford's report delivered a stinging rebuff to the AOC's calls for an extra $100 million a year for 10 years for Olympic sports, saying that money would be better spent elsewhere.

But Coates, who has previously dismissed the report as disrespectful and insulting to Australia's Olympic greats, said he had received "some encouraging signals" from the minister when they met last Sunday.

"We cleared the air over a few things," he said.

"She wants to work with us so we can help her secure that (extra funding) from the (government's) expenditure review committee.

"I am confident we're going to give it a good shot.

"The minister does understand that if we are to maintain our position (on the Olympic medals table) this money has got to be available very soon."

The government is due to respond to the Crawford report early next year.

Coates said Wednesday's meeting also disagreed with the Crawford report suggestion that the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) be separated, and the AIS take over all state institutes of sport.

Paralympian Kurt Fearnley said: "It's sad but dollars is what makes the sporting system go round, especially with high performance athletes.

"Australia will need to do something to stay up there."

Judo representative Catherine Arlove said: "Some of the low profile sports will suffer if the funding is sucked out of the system."