In 2000, at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Ion Tiriac was sending to the authorities and to the whole Romanian sport world a tough message, hard and almost unacceptable for a country accustomed with high performance sport. “We need a new spirit. It will be a disaster in a few years”, said Ion Tiriac, with the wisdom and the vision of a sporting genius and a successful entrepreneur.
Today, 16 years later, the disaster defines a reality, the one of the Romanian sport, both the performance one and mass one, the professional and the amateur. Intricate laws, unenforced or poorly implemented, strategies that are stretched on hundreds of yellowed sheets in ministerial drawers, the lack of vision, the lack of continuity at the Executive level, but also the technological revolution that has nailed the children in the front of the monitors are just some of the elements that have drafted the new Romanian disastrous state of the sport. Gathered around the same table, the world champions, members of the government, mayors, deputies, heads of federations, heads of trade unions, of NGOs in sports, everyone agrees that Romanian sport must become a national priority. The solutions seems to be every side. But what seems to be missing is a clear mind, the one that will centralize and harmonize all these possible solutions and, especially, the one who will execute them, put them into practice.
Ion Tiriac: It’s the zero minute for the sport to become a priority
“It’s the zero minute in which you must save the nation, this genocide with the sport in the last 27 years is inadmissible. I was with the hat in my hand at every government. It’s not a priority. It’s the highest priority to save the nation. Beginning with the one aged 2, we are not here for the sport, we are here for that child to learn to run, to turn over and over, and from these millions of children to shift and get a Nadia, a Lipa. The great champions are exceptions, we do not need exceptions, give God some to rain with them, but not enough. (…) What did Orban across the border? He made the sport the number one priority as emergency. After 5 years, the results will come. How would mean for a country such a program, 3 billion to the nation, one for Health, one for Education and one for Sport? We must do this program at 3 billion euros for saving the nation with a plan that the Opposition must be at the table” , said Ion Tiriac in the ” SPORT – Discipline key to personal development ” debate, organized last week by Intact Media Group and moderated by Alessandra Stoicescu.
The debate brought together the leading figures from sport, but also representatives of the Government, Parliament, local government, the business community and NGOs including: Ion Tiriac, Ilie Nastase, Virgil Stanescu, the President of Steaua CSM Eximbank, Vasile Dincu, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, Dr. Mircea Dumitru, the Minister for National Education and Scientific Research, Elisabeta Lipa, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Gabriela Firea, the General Mayor of Bucharest, Alin Petrache, the President of Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee, Robert Sorin Negoita, the President of the Association of Municipalities of Romania and Cristian Erbasu, the General Director of Erbasu Construction.
A tough message has been sent to the authorities by Ilie Nastase. “A big-budget for sport is what we need, more than 3 billion euros, to have a healthy country. (…) I left the sport to die. We must change this situation. We are in 2016. Let’s look at Spain, France, countries that have heavily invested in sport. Who does not want us to? Us on us, Romanians on Romanians! Let us wake up! ” , said the former great champion.
Alin Petrache, the president of COSR: The Sport should become a subject in CSAT
The Sport should become a subject in the CSAT, as a national priority, says Alin Petrache, the President of the Romanian Sports and Olympic Committee (COSR). “The size of these years performance is directly proportional to the financial and management involvement in the last 26 years of governments and civil societies. That’s all that we have invested, that is what we have! (…) I propose a national agreement for Romanian sport. I did it once in 2014. Today, here, with the most decision makers, with the great champions, to make an agreement for 10 years, 20 years. (…) The sport in Romania is a pyramid. We have an elite sport, we have the middle of this pyramid, the performance sport made by the national federations, and what we do not have today is the mass sport and those wonderful competitions that the governments have made them available to these national federations from where they pulled their sap to have great champions later” , said Alin Petrache.
Dincu: Money exist, but there is no organization or vision
The money would exist, but there is no organization and vision, even Vasile Dincu said, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Regional Development and Public Administration. “The gyms exists, but without a national project these gyms have no sense, nor do we know that they exist. Inside them the sport is made, but perhaps unorganized. We need the political consensus. (…) We make the infrastructure, which is a public expense, but we do not have a strategic program associated to use it. (…) The sport should be the number 1 priority. (…) Romania’s budget could support for these projects a higher amount, but it must be managed in a project that could really change the vision” , the Deputy Premier Dincu told the debate.
The time seems to be never on the side of Romania. Ion Tiriac spoke of the need for immediate action, about the uselessness of the empty words and urgent deeds. “The problem is not new, but there is no solution at this time. It can be solved only by the political Executive, and those of us on the sidelines, committee, federations, we can only follow. (…) I was at the president with hat in my hand. I said “do something for the sport otherwise we will go down.” Logically, he said yes, but with a five-year plan in which almost everyone will participate, to accept it and to take it forward, we are not getting anywhere. (…) The federations cannot live today because the Romanian society still can not guarantee them what is ensured in other countries in financial, moral, and social terms and can not survive alone without being funded from the state. The general sport, not the mass one, must be funded from public money. We are in a situation with no exit” , said Ion Tiriac. “Tomorrow morning I will put 50 million euros on the table, also you must give 50 million, that you have, and let’s do marketing, let’s do some management, let’s make that Faculty (editor’s note-UNEFS) not to continue its activity in the stable” , Ion Tiriac adviced the Deputy Premier Dincu.
The problems on the edge widely discussed in the debate organized by the Intact Media Group were the reopening of the school yards, the granting of scholarships of excellence in sport, the law of sport, the involvement of the local authorities in creating the sport projects for communities, changing the mentality of the parents by encouraging them to pay more attention to sports activities needed for the education process and the training of their children, about creating the infrastructure for the deployment of large sporting events in Romania, but also about the sponsorship law, whose framework does not encourage the support for sport by private entities.
“I have started a project to reopen the school yards, along with Romanian Business Leaders, with the Bucharest City Hall, to find a solution of accessibility for every child. In our time, we started the sport in our school yard. Why it’s the schoolyard closed? I propose a system: to centralize this, on card based access, you have control on those who enter the yard, also there can be organized events. It’s a low cost, scalable, so that our children to have a playground in the school yard” , said Virgil Stanescu, the President of Steaua CSM Eximbank. The project has also an opening to the central administration. “When the violence appeared in the schoolyard, from a security reason, everyone has panicked and after that all the courts were closed for security reasons. We can make some investment programs for reopening these school courts, but in many places, the schoolyard became a sport base, used for economic reasons, rented. Make a viable project and we will expect you in the ministry ” , he told the Deputy Premier Vasile Dincu.
The Youth and Sports Ministry is preparing for the launch in the public debate of the new law of sport
The Youth and Sports Ministry is preparing for the launch in the public debate the new law on sport, but is working in parallel at a series of projects to help the development of the Romanian sport, as it is the digital platform which it will know exactly how many athletes, how many coaches and how many sports clubs, public or private work in Romania, but also the National Programme “Sports for all”.
“Since 2004 Romania has no longer a national strategy for sports development. Once we move from the debate to amend the sport law, we will make a debate for this strategy too. The more debates we have and each of us will expose their problems and their point of views, I am firmly convinced that the things will move towards the direction desired by all of us. (…) I support the sport, no doubt about that, both off-hours, and during the physical education classes, but I also support the performance sports. It is necessary to optimize the organization way and the development of the physical education class, both in terms of number of hours of sport per week, and in terms of physical education class content. An organized and systematic practice of physical exercise, adapted to each age category, it is necessary from the kindergarten to university (…) We have many competitions on the paper, but without a base of real selection that will lead to the practicing of mass sport so as to be reflected also in the professional sports” , said Elisabeta Lipa, the Minister of Youth and Sports.