Ministry of Culture reiterates direct granting of budgets to local sports federations and member sports organizations

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reiterated its intention to directly disburse budgets to local sports federations and sports organizations.

The ministry held a meeting on the sports sector chaired by Minister Yoo In-chon at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, on Feb. 2 to share the current status of preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics and to express its stance on sports issues.

Culture Minister Yoo In-chon, who sparked a call for a revamp of the budget support system at a meeting between the Korea Volleyball Association and women’s national volleyball retirees last month 20, said, “The sports system centered on the Korea Sports Federation has reached its limits,” and stuck to his previous attitude that “fundamental improvement and reform of the sports system is necessary.”

Yoo, who has been at odds with Korean Sports Federation President Lee Ki-heung over sports policy since last year, said, “The sports federation is crying out for autonomy from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, but seems to be opposed to the autonomy of its member sports organizations and local sports federations.”

“One of the various discussions to strengthen the autonomy of the sports world is the direct granting of budgets,” he said, referring to direct budget execution.

“We are currently in talks with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, and we need to approach it in detail, considering the distinction between member sports organizations and local sports associations,” said Lee Jung-woo, director of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “Every year, the government budget is submitted to the ministry on May 30, and the government budget is finalized at the end of August,” he said, predicting that a concrete implementation plan will come out after the Paris Olympics.

“If Korean sports have been doing well, there’s no need to change the system,” Lee said, explaining the reason for direct budgeting, “but now that Korean sports are going through a crisis, the government should use its most powerful tool, the budgetary power, to help Korean sports take off.”

“The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has been supporting Korean sports in a general way, but now it needs to be individualized and sophisticated,” he said, adding, “It should be customized according to whether it is an individual or a ball game, and whether it is a depopulated area or a populous area.

“If the government doesn’t take action now to develop Korean sports and there are problems at the Olympics four years from now, eight years from now, it will be a dereliction of duty,” he added.

Ultimately, the ministry’s idea of giving budgets directly to local sports federations and member sports organizations, as opposed to the KFA, is a way to revitalize everyday sports and strengthen the international competitiveness of elite Korean athletes.

The ministry is also considering distributing budgets to local sports federations through provincial education offices and local governments to increase transparency and efficiency in budget execution.

In response to the KFA’s claim that the MOC’s direct budgeting may violate the National Sports Promotion Act, Lee Jung-woo said, “The authority to interpret and enforce the law lies with the government ministries,” adding, “The government is the place to interpret and enforce the law correctly, not violate it.”

He also made it clear that if the KFA asks the MOC to approve the amendment to the articles of association to remove term limits for the heads of sports organizations after the three-day delegate assembly, the MOC will reject it.

“I will never approve the amendment to the articles of association,” Minister Yoo Yoo-chon affirmed.

Current President Lee Ki-heung, who took over as the first head of the Unified Sports Council in 2016, has been in office for eight years after being re-elected once, and even if the current articles of association are maintained, he can run for a third term after being reviewed by the Sports Fairness Commission.

“Even if (Lee wins next year’s election), we shouldn’t give the KFA 480 billion won ($480 million) a year if the KFA can do as it pleases,” Yoo said.

“The Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces Administration have not yet asked us to discuss this issue formally,” Yoo said, adding that “we cannot abolish it completely, but we will find a reasonable way to do so.” 토토사이트

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