Latvian Olympic Committee says sports financing is in crisis

Due to delays in the planned state funding for sports federations, the industry is in an unprecedented crisis and at the beginning of the Olympic year is unable to ensure athletes' participation in important competitions, Latvian Olympic Committee (LOK) President Jānis Buks told Latvian Radio on Thursday, February 1.

Buks attributed the difficult financial situation in sports to a "screaming ineptitude" by the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), which is responsible for the industry.

The sports industry is currently in a deep crisis, not on the eve of the crisis, Buks stressed.

No sports federation has yet received the state budget base funding. The federations thus delay their payments, the athletes borrow money privately so they can participate in competitions, and the benefits of the Latvian Olympic Social Fund for sports veterans may be delayed in February.

"Athletes have to prepare for the [Olympic] qualification race and possible start at the Paris Olympics - there is no funding. We've found ourselves in this, I think, historically unprecedented situation where athletes are forced to borrow money privately to start qualifying competitions," Buks said.

Without the promised base funding, most sports federations are in an actual insolvency situation, the LOK President said.

LOK will also send a letter to President Edgars Rinkēvičs on Thursday outlining the crisis situation in the sports sector due to delays in state funding.

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