Senate president charges sports federations against overdependence on FG for funding

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has challenged sports federations to devise other means of funding sports activities instead of overdependence on budgetary allocation from the Federal Government.

The Senate president gave the charge at the train-the-trainer Workshop/Seminar for Youth and Sports Development Officers, Games Masters/Mistresses, Coaches and other professionals held in Abuja recently.

Represented by his aide, Kola Balogun, Senator Lawan argued that the budgetary allocation to sports will never be commensurate with the importance of sports to the unity of the country.

‘The entire world is challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and budgetary allocation is a function of resources availability. However, beyond budgetary allocations let me observe the efforts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development especially under the current Minister in trying to encourage the private sector to come into sponsorship of sports activities,’ he said.

‘We ought to know that sports is also big business not something the government alone can shoulder. Most of the countries sports activities are thriving, where they have used sports to impact positively on the lives of the people and to boost the economic sector, they never rely on government funding.

‘They have to begin to look at how they can bring in the private sectors to support and finance sporting activities in this country. Let me say that it is not all about budgetary allocation because you can allocate all you want, even if you have resources, but it will still not be enough if you are thinking of 21-century sports development,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the communique raised at the end of the Workshop read that; “National Athletes can only be selected to represent countries at various levels through National trials organised by the Ministries of Youth and Sports of member countries.

‘Coaches should be encouraged to benefit from attending events with their athletes; funding and sponsorship of sports should not be left for government only; grassroots sports development should be encouraged especially on private schools right from primary to tertiary institutions; Monitoring and evaluation should be encouraged in the sports sector.

Other resolutions contained in the communique include ‘refresher courses, seminars and conferences of this magnitude should be encouraged from time to time; AUSC region 2 should be encouraged to seek for private sponsors in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development of all member countries.’

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