Importance of specifying all criteria

President listens to report on state support of sports
By Vladimir Khromov

The Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Tozik, has joined the First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, Igor Rachkovsky, the Minister of Sports and Tourism, Alexander Shamko, and the Assistant to the President for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, Maxim Ryzhenkov, in reporting on two draft decrees regarding state support of sports organisations, to encourage promising athletes.

Alexander Lukashenko reminded them that relevant issues have already been discussed at a large-scale meeting and instructed them to improve the draft of a new decree on the support of organisations of physical culture and sports. This aims to provide fair conditions of functioning and efficient allocation of state funds. He also asked that the way scholarships are allocated to athletes be reconsidered, noting, “It’s not because we’re afraid of overpaying someone or underestimating someone but I’d like to reconsider these draft decrees in terms of support and, especially, to ensure that scholarships reflect results. I have no desire to set the number of scholarships: let it be 5,000 instead of 500 or 250. However, athletes must comply with our set criteria. We must decide on our criteria, and let this govern who receives a scholarship. It’s not enough just to win a medal at the Olympic Games, since we pay quite a lot for this already and offer other opportunities. Scholarships should be for the promising athletes of tomorrow (mostly young people) who lack money in general. They should receive scholarships, but not in excess. It can be a good and useful support for their early years of development.”

He continued, “As for the support of clubs, we should reconsider this once more; in these difficult times, we shouldn’t be financing structures which can earn their own keep. They have initiative people who must be making money; they live well — the athletes and, especially, the club officials. Recently, I heard that Dinamo HC had failed the season completely, yet had received hundreds of thousands of dollars (officials and functionaries). They say that everything is ok so why are we providing them with state support? Yes, it is necessary to support the club, but only the athletes and the club’s sporting development; we need to make a distinction.”

The latest draft decrees propose a new approach, incorporating ideas from the January meeting. Innovations include motivating clubs to independently earn money for their own development. The load on the budget will be reduced, over coming years, until 2015. Meanwhile, the athletes of the future will be the main beneficiaries, rather than those who have already succeeded. Once ready, the decrees will be signed by the President of Belarus.
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