Aptuveni pusmiljons nepamatotu izdevumu



LOK prezidents pārmet Čakšas (JV) komandai politisku spiedienu

Latvian olympic official claims he has come under political pressure

A senior Latvian sports administrator claims he has come under political pressure from a government minister in several different ways, reports Latvian Television.

Firing and hiring certain people, as well as concluding a cooperation agreement with a specific publishing house – this is how Latvian Olympic Committee (LOK) president Jānis Buks describes pressure exerted on him by persons close to Anda Čakša (New Unity), the Minister of Education and Science. Her Ministry is also responsible for sports. The Minister herself denies having given such orders.

LOK President Buks believes that relations with the Ministry of Education and Science deteriorated at the moment when the Olympic Committee refused to sign a cooperation agreement with the publishing house "Rīgas Vilņi". Minister Čakša's adviser Raivis Bergs has worked there for a long time, and since last October, his sister Elīna has been the manager of the publishing house.

"Since I have been the operational manager of the publishing house Rīgas Viļņi, the publishing house has not had cooperation with LOK, nor have there even been any negotiations about the possibility of cooperation," Elīna Berga told Latvian Television.

Buks was elected LOK president last July, and he said that the negotiations with the publishing house took place before Bergs became the operational manager.

Shortly after starting work, Buks received an order from the Ministry to fire several long-term LOK employees, he said.

"If I want productive cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science, then I have to fire Dace Gulbe, Raitis Keselis and Lilita Mitrofanova, who is Raitis Keselis' spouse," said Jānis Buks. "This was given to me by third parties... on August 12, when I had a one-on-one meeting with Raivis Bergs, he personally repeated to me exactly the same names and surnames and exactly the same task."

The requirement was only partially fulfilled – only Dace Gulbe was released from work. Buks, however, indicated that there were other reasons for this, which he would not comment upon. Relations with the Ministry deteriorated further after that.

Buks claims that an ultimatum was also given when choosing a new head of the Latvian Olympic Union (LOV). In an open competition, Daniels Nātriņš received the highest rating, who is also the head of the National Sports Center. LOK wanted the head of the LOV to work full-time, but did not indicate this in the job advertisement. Natriņš wanted to combine the posts and received permission from the Ministry for this.

When the Olympic Committee did not want to approve Nātriņš for the position, it was said to have been given an ultimatum.

"We had to approve Daniēls Nātriņš as a member of the LOV board by December 29. If we didn't approve, then funding for athletes would be cut off," said Jānis Buks. "These conversations were with Raivis Berg and Ilze Bagatska."

Buks admits that he gave in to the pressure because he took the threat seriously and did not want to expose athletes to excessive risk during an Olympic year. Nātriņš still heads both the National Sports Center and the Latvian Olympic Union.

"In both places, of course, the workload is high, but the difference between the employment contract and the authorization contract that the board members have is that I don't have fixed working hours," said Daniels Nātriņš. "So it's a matter of my time management, how I deal with these responsibilities."

Raivis Bergs, adviser to the Minister of Education and Science, Čakša, does not deny that he has spoken with Buks, but calls the accusations leveled at him false.

"I am an adviser to the minister in policy making, the mentioned issues are not within my responsibilities. Budget issues are also not within my competence," said Raivis Bergs. 

Similarly, Bagatska does not deny that she has spoken with Buks several times, but insists she has not tried to influence the decisions of the LOK in any way.  

"This is an absurd and false statement. I have not issued any ultimatums to the leadership of LOK, neither in the cases mentioned nor in any other regard," said Ilze Bagatska.

Minister of Education and Science Čakša confirms that she is familiar with Bagatska and both have attended sports events together. However, the minister denies that she gave any instructions to Bergs and Bagatska to pass on to sports organizations.

"I have advisors, and the advisors give me advice. I make decisions myself as a minister, but I do not give anyone any other tasks," emphasized Minister Čakša.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important