The meeting focused on national goals and strategic tasks concerning the development of physical fitness and sport in the Russian Federation until 2024 and beyond.
Participants discussed creating conditions for engaging all categories and groups of the public in regular exercise, upgrading sports facilities, improving the training of athletic reserves and increasing the competitiveness of Russian athletes.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
First of all, I want to thank the Council’s working group for preparing today’s meeting.
The agenda is indeed full and substantial. We are to discuss strategic issues related to the development of physical fitness and sports in Russia until 2024 and for the later period.
Our colleagues developed proposals in line with the key national goals and objectives that were outlined in the 2018 May Executive Order.
It should be noted that this approach complies with a resolution of the UN General Assembly adopted in December 2018 which considers sport an important factor of sustainable development.
Physical fitness and sport remain a priority of our social policy. What I will say may be obvious but in no way less important. Sport is an opportunity for self-fulfilment, for a new quality of life for each and every person.
As a matter of fact, the main purpose of multiple international and national competitions that Russia has hosted in recent years is precisely to promote the culture of healthy living.
Promoting sports is an important task, including for a new television channel, MATCH.Strana, which was established to cover sports events of all levels and perhaps most importantly in Russian regions.
There are positive dynamics, indeed. Over the past decade, the number of those who chose an active lifestyle and sports as leisure activities has increased from 17 percent to almost 40 percent, or over 54 million people.
As you may recall, our goal was to get over half of Russia’s population (55 percent) involved in an active lifestyle by 2024.
To do so, it is imperative to expand sports for the public much more actively, to expose everyone to physical fitness from childhood, and to cultivate responsibility for one’s health, as well as to fully support interest in an active lifestyle for middle-aged and older people and to create a corresponding infrastructure.
Of course, sports for the public should be included in our national projects, all of which focus on people’s interests and requests.
It is even more important to do this as part of programmes like Demography, Housing and Urban Environment, Healthcare and Education, which are designed to create a modern and comfortable environment for people, hence, the active lifestyle.
The Council’s working group believes that these matters are not fully reflected in the national programmes. Of course, we can and must correct this situation, and make sure that measures to promote physical fitness and sports are included in national project passports, and that proper funding is provided.
In addition, the current Physical Culture and Sport Development Strategy will expire next year. Including based on what we discussed today, I want the Government (we will discuss this in more detail later) and the Ministry of Sport to start developing a new Strategy for the period to 2030 without delay and adopt it no later than October 2020 in order for us to be able to implement this document effectively and on schedule.
Today, I would like to focus on the tasks at hand.
First, as I already mentioned, this is about further developing the public sports infrastructure. This should literally be within walking distance. We should also take a closer look at the ways to more effectively use sports facilities of educational organisations, such as schools. This is important and there is a need to do so, especially in rural areas.
Next, it is necessary to facilitate public-private partnerships in sports and physical fitness, to use, in conjunction with public budget resources, the potential offered by the entrepreneurial initiative, the desire of small and medium-sized businesses to work in public sports and offer services ranging from affordable fitness and athletic classes to manufacturing inexpensive sportswear and equipment.
Besides, as you know, professional sports, major sporting events and tournaments can be commercially successful, including income for advertising companies and various lotteries. An entire business sector is linked with sports.
As I see it, we need to carefully revaluate the regulatory system for this and create clear and understandable procedures to purposefully allocate part of the revenues generated in the professional sport segment for the development of public sports, for training new stars who can serve as examples for the younger generations.
I would like to talk separately about cooperation between the Russian Olympic Committee, national sports federations, and specialised agencies and international sport organisations.
We need to expand Russia’s involvement in drafting and implementing decisions on key matters on the international sports agenda, as well as a systematic approach to defending the rights and interests of Russian athletes. I would like you to work actively and consistently here, based on common approaches and an agreed-upon policy.
This directly concerns the well-known doping incident. Russia has fulfilled all the requirements for more efficient anti-doping efforts. We have established constructive cooperation with specialised international agencies. We need to completely resolve any remaining matters and do everything possible so that members of the Russian team will not be subjected to any restrictions during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, so that we don’t provide any pretext to those who use sport for political purposes against Russia’s interests.
I would like to note that many aspects of maintaining the international status of Russian sports and ensuring domestic development depend on skilful coordination. The ministries, departments and public organisations whose activities are linked with sports should work as hard as possible and draft common comprehensive development programmes for specific areas. This also concerns the introduction and use of advanced scientific and technical achievements, as well as human resourcing.
I agree with those who note the need for common, so-called comprehensive standards and requirements for training and qualifications of specialists working in the system of school, additional and higher education.
Matters of streamlining the system for protecting the labour rights of coaches and athletes themselves, developing the system of specialised medical assistance and rehabilitation for people who have devoted years and decades of their lives to sport also require the same degree of attention. And, of course, we should further work on ways to additionally incentivise coaches and athletes.
The Foundation for the Support of Russian Olympians has been doing this successfully in professional sports for many years. But we need to include all sports levels, support local enthusiasts and devotees who implement important and promising projects and who act as true mentors to young people.
Please think about how we can use the potential of the Presidential Grants Foundation and the grant programmes of corresponding ministries and regions for these purposes.
Let’s start discussing the items that have been prepared for today.