Krasnodar, 5 March. Today our interviewee is Aleksei Chernov, Minister of Sports of Krasnodar krai.
Q.: In one of your first interviews as the newly elected minister, you voiced the problem of shortage of money in municipalities needed to ensure access to sports facilities: a swimming pool in Belorechensk, an ice palace in Timashevsk, etc. How has the situation changed since then?
A.: Speaking about the problems of municipal sports on the whole, we should understand that a huge role in this case is played by the co-financing from the regional budget. Municipal budgets alone, without transfers from s superior budget, would not be able to meet local people’s needs, including in sports. We have governmental programs that provide for the creation of social sport infrastructure throughout the whole region. In 2007–2015, a lot of inflatable sports centres had been erected in the region – but later it became clear that they were too expensive to run. Now we are facing a task to upgrade them so that the problem be utterly resolved rather than simply postponed. Another task is to set up the construction of budget-oriented quick-mounting sports complexes that will allow wide circles of people to take up physical culture.
Q.: Are there plans to open free sports groups for children, adults and separately for elderly people?
A.: We have community clubs. Of course, we are working on opening sports groups in these clubs, including ones targeted at the third age. We also hold championships for retirees.
Q.: Children’s sports schools always lacked financial support, so the parents had to assume a significant part of expenses.
A.: You are right, and this is by far not a new problem. Some eight years ago, there was a subsidy paid to municipalities to cover travelling expenses of the participants of various championships and competitions, but then the Ministry of Finance chose not to pay this money. Presently we are actively working on this issue, and I hope that very soon we will resume the financing of this item.
Q.: There is a draft document called the Regional Sports Development Strategy on your table. Can you explain its main directions?
A.: What I can do now is enumerate its main theses. Sports must be available for all; the infrastructure must be as close to people’s residence as possible; it is important to develop more actively sports for children and juniors as well as physical activity of elderly people. The personnel issue is also important, including the development of target allocations for coaches.
Q.: What role does the Olympic heritage play in the development of sports in Krasnodar krai?
A.: It plays a tremendous role. There are many examples when families with children who are professional athletes have relocated to Sochi. Their parents do understand that apart from the warm climate Sochi also has world-class sports facilities and competent coaches. Thankful to such ‘migration,’ we have brought up a lot of new champions.
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