Thursday, 31 January 2019

Croatia to Finally Have National Program and Sports Strategy: What It Means

For the first time in history, Croatia will have a national program or sports strategy, which will be used for the next eight years and should improve and solve the many problems athletes and staff have faced for years, reports on January 30, 2019. 

The Action Plan prescribes six general and 20 specific objectives that include 66 measures and 155 activities that would reduce the number of disadvantages in Croatian sport over the next eight years.

Eight workshops were held to create the document, in which almost 400 sports workers from all counties were involved.

"It addresses a number of problems, has six goals which look after the system of competitive, school sports and sports recreation or health-focused physical exercise. The objectives for financing sports highlights matching investment for sports with the comparable EU Member States, it talks about tax incentives for sports concerning investment in sports and tax relief for the athletes and the clubs themselves. It also speaks about the criteria, categorization and evaluation of sports and about financing according to success, the sport, and other criteria. This document also deals with the athletes themselves, their rights, on aligning their education and sports careers, on unique scholarships, pension and health. It also talks about staying in sports, about the professional staff, about licensing and investing in the education of trainers,” said Krešimir Šamija, deputy state secretary for sport.

As expected, the strategy also features sports infrastructure and it having more qualitative or perhaps more intelligent investments.

But apart from improving professional sports, what is perhaps most important, if the proposals from this strategy are adopted, is that sport would be much more accessible to children in Croatia, and more affordable for their parents. Namely, it is incredible that more than 60 percent of Croats are entirely inactive. 

After a public discussion and the harmonization of all stakeholders, the document will go to the Government. The Ministry of Finance and Science, Education and Sports should be most active in its implementation. In the end, the national strategy will be adopted by the Parliament for eight years. With the strategy, Croatia will also have a new Law on Sports.

“It is already being drafted and will be fully harmonized with the measures from the national strategy," Šamija noted.

Athletes in Croatia have been waiting for this for more than 20 years. 

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