Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session of NOC Executive Council

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko urged order to bring to the sports industry and eliminate financial excesses and other breaches of discipline. The head of state made the statement at the meeting of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus held on 1 November.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said that before the meeting he appointed new sports executives. Alexander Shamko has been appointed Sport and Tourism Minister and Maxim Ryzhenkov has been appointed Belarus President Aide for physical training, sports, and tourism development. Aleksandr Lukashenko proposed the candidature of Igor Rachkovsky as First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

    “These are not accidental people for sport and the government system. They are solid men, two generals with a high rank and profound knowledge and love for sport, who have experience of working in this field,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko explained his reasons behind the appointment of the new executives for the sport industry: “I wanted to appoint people from the outside. I didn’t seek candidates among so-called sport specialists. Because I am concerned not only by the lack of effort of the former executives but also by corruption among them. I had to avoid a clan system and therefore appointed and recommended people from the outside. These are people, who understand and love sport”.

    “No people should be appointed to any positions based on their loyalty. Don’t think that I appoint people in an offhand manner. I seriously examine them before appointing. The key thing is that a person should be an ardent professional, who should do his or her best at work,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The Belarus President has great hopes for new Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko. Previously he was in charge of the rescue and firefighting sport in the Emergencies Ministry. The team has won multiple world championships.

    “I recommended Igor Rachkovsky as the First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee. I think he is full of promise in this area,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The head of state remarked that sport had become big politics and big economy. “The removal of national borders and the advancement towards the wide field of international relations have become most important traits of sport,” he said.

    “It is time for a new generation of politicians in all areas and all avenues,” said the President. “Today our task is to calmly, without any noise and uproar, raise to power normal young politicians – 40-45 years old, under 50,” he remarked. “They are not going to stay in their offices forever,” he remarked.

    “I am not in favor of putting 25-year-olds into ministerial positions not only because they would be inexperienced. It is important how they would be received when one comes and starts directing people with high ranks,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “I went through that by becoming the president when I was 38 and I know it very well. I understand that there is time for everything, including the age, experience of people”.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the present sports personnel appointments include serious executives with extensive experience.

    The President said that corruption in sports is inadmissible. “Everything should be honest, sincere and principled. It should not be the way things were handled by the previous Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee. The NOC Vice President, who has been relieved of duty, was paid a salary equal to the presidential one and even more than that. The NOC representative office personnel had salaries I am embarrassed to specify,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “Moreover, some people tried to handle their own personal problems at the expense of the NOC and the state”.

    The head of state explained: “I am talking about your personal decency. I mention it least of all now but remember that no corrupted ones will be forgiven”. The President stressed that revenues of the top NOC executives should be tied to the Sports and Tourism Ministry.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko urged to bring order to the sports industry and eliminate financial excesses and other breaches of discipline. “You need to restore order and put an end to those negative things we discussed at the Olympic meeting. We need to put an end to all financial excesses and other breaches of discipline. Salaries should be commensurate with the salaries in the Ministry of Sport and Tourism,” Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that three persons are in charge of the task. They are the NOC First Vice-President, Sports Minister, Vice-Premier. They need to become a powerhouse and restore order and discipline in sports. “You will be vested with high authorities. You will be fully responsible for the development of the Belarusian sport. No failures here, no spendthrifting on the things other than sports,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that a number of issues regarding the NOC structure should be addressed. In particular, there should be a clear allocation of responsibilities between the NOC Vice Presidents.

    Following instructions given by the President the State Control Committee has examined the NOC operation. The results and measures taken to repair the situation were reported by Alexander Yakobson, SCC Chairman.

    In his words, the NOC administration spent excessive sums on its wellbeing while failing to cater to the key task set by its charter – the development of the Olympic movement and Belarusian sport.

    While in 2010 the maintenance of the NOC administration accounted for less than a third of the total spending, in January-September 2012 the maintenance cost nearly half of the funding. The personnel were paid salaries considerably in excess of the country’s average as well as bonuses for hitting so-called additional performance targets.

    Alexander Yakobson said money had been spent systematically on purposes not related to the development of Belarusian sport. Proper accounting procedures were not observed.

    The residential premises owned by the NOC administration were not used effectively. The construction of the NOC Headquarters was delayed.

    Alexander Yakobson said that at present about 1,000 organizations train sportsmen in Belarus these days, with considerable money spent on sport development. In 2011 and in January-September 2012 over Br2.5 trillion was spent, not including capital outlays. The sum is comparable to half of the budget of an oblast. Unwise money spending is one of the reasons behind dissatisfying performance at international competitions, said Alexander Yakobson.

    Audits indicate that the organizational structure of the Sports and Tourism Ministry needs reworking. The President-approved number of employees in the central division of the Ministry is 73. However, the Ministry has created and transferred some of its functions involving the training of national teams to some entity without a definite status – the directorate of national teams that employed 17 more civil servants. Alexander Yakobson said the directorate is not a legal person and is not a division of the Ministry. In turn, the directorate transferred some of its functions to state coaches with approval of the Ministry. As a result, state coaches have to deal with various financial and economic issues in this case.

    Alexander Yakobson also said that sport organizations fail to put sufficient efforts into earning money of their own.

    The State Control Committee in association with law enforcement agencies has started examining the national Olympic training center for equestrian sports. A large-scale audit of the Sports and Tourism Ministry and the agencies that report to it continues.

    Igor Rachkovsky, First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, informed about the steps he intends to take in the first days in the new office. “Order will be restored as soon as possible. Financial experts should be hired because financial discipline has not just been broken, there is no financial discipline,” he said.

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to closely monitor the spending of financial resources. “A careful approach should be exercised. Relevant things should be revised,” he said.

    The head of state touched upon the issue of Olympic training and sports development among students. “If we work hard we should be ready to institute a higher education establishment subordinate to the National Olympic Committee,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    The Belarusian leader is confident that the work on Olympic education development and sports among students should go in close contact with the Education Minister.