The meeting participants discussed proposals on further developing mass sport and ensuring wider access to it as well as measures to support domestic sporting goods manufacturers.
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Excerpts from transcript of meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
I have just met with our athletes – members of the Olympic and Paralympic teams of Russia – and would like to note a few points before getting down to today’s agenda.
The first point. The winners and medallists of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games are certainly outstanding athletes who won a befitting number of medals. However, today we are not at a gala event but basically at a production meeting, and we need to objectively evaluate everything that we are doing.
In this respect, I would like to note that our final team rating is still below what was planned in the Strategy for the Development of Sport, and I would certainly like the Minister of Sport to report on this.
The second point. In the current conditions, in the face of pressure on Russia and its citizens, it is pivotal to maintain our athletes’ competitiveness. In addressing our national teams, I said that we intend to carry out everything we planned in sports.
As for the projects cancelled in Russia by international sports management associations – well, let God sort them out, we must replace these cancelled competitions with our own new formats. We can do this pretty quickly: organise open multi-stage sports tournaments that will be attractive in all respects, and ensure the participation of foreign athletes, clubs and teams in these tournaments.
I would like to ask the Government to immediately start compiling a list of competitions and determine the amounts and sources of funding for both the planned projects and for new initiatives.
Now back to the Council's agenda. We continue to review matters related to mass sport. Last time, we discussed children's and youth sports. Today we will discuss ways to involve greater numbers of economically active people in regular physical fitness and sport.
Clearly, special approaches are needed since we are talking about people with families whose daily routines include their jobs and household duties. In particular, we need to think about promoting modern corporate fitness. Much has already been accomplished in this area. We should build on the experience of our major companies and state corporations such as Gazprom, Russian Railways, Rosatom, LUKOIL and Rostec, which initiated the revival of the Trudovye Reservy sports society in 2018.
I welcome the creation of the Association for Promoting Corporate Fitness. I believe the next step should include a joint programme of action for businesses and government authorities at all levels, as well as public associations, including our renowned sports societies like Dynamo, Spartak and CSKA. I hope that close cooperation and work for a greater common cause will help overcome a number of daunting challenges, for example, in expanding the system for organising and holding mass fitness and sports events.
Clearly, the competitions – national, regional and municipal – should be mostly integrated and include multiple stages, be focused on people of all ages and be accessible and appealing to people of all fitness levels.
The public must be properly motivated. To do so, it is imperative to expand the coverage and promotion of mass sport in the state media, to enthusiastically promote the National GTO sports programme through outreach awareness drives and various kinds of incentives for participants, and, of course, to create proper conditions for physical activities in the form of modern and well-equipped sports infrastructure. A Paralympic athlete just spoke about this and put it absolutely correctly. It is important to create a conveniently located infrastructure that is easy on the wallet. This is a multifaceted and big issue that needs to be reviewed by the Council separately. I propose holding our next meeting on this.
We also expect heads of Russian regions and municipalities to be proactive in developing fitness and sports and ensuring its accessibility. It is especially important to create and launch information systems to help people navigate sports, health and fitness services, find out where and which sport they can do on their own or with their families, and what sports events are planned in their regions. I know that such systems are already in operation in a number of regions. I would also like to remind you of the instruction to create such a resource at the federal level. I would ask you to report on the progress today.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight one more point, which is no less important. It was previously decided that by 2024, the constituent entities of the Federation are to allocate at least 2 percent of their regional budgets for sports. I suggest thinking about increasing spending on sports every year from 2025 on and doing it in such a way as to avoid gaps in the financing of sports, the quality and availability of sports infrastructure, depending on each region’s financial standing – we know that they are different.
Again, this is of the essence, among other things, to achieve the goal of getting 55 percent of Russians involved in regular exercise by 2024, and 70 percent by 2030, and this can only be done if all regions of our country join the effort.
I’d like to note that in 2021, 49.4 percent of citizens were reported to regularly do sports. This is a good result, but still far from ideal. Further trends directly depend on the effective implementation of the decisions we make, on how well and timely the instructions are fulfilled, including the instructions issued following the Council for Sport meetings. I ask you to prepare a report on the implementation of these instructions.
Let's get to work.
Mr Chernyshenko, go ahead please.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko: Mr President,
First, I will describe what the Government has done under the sanctions pressure on your instructions. There are over 250 priority measures to support our economy. They include universal, general measures that, of course, concern sports organisations to varying degrees, and also special measures to assist the sports industry. While drafting them we considered the proposals of the entire professional community.
I will briefly list the main ones, which the Prime Minister has approved. It is important to talk about them on your platform to let as many participants in the industry as possible hear about them and use them.
We have 185,000 physical culture and sports organisations. They now have access to benefits like preferential loans, schedule extensions for implementing projects through subsidies and their special budgets by two years, a moratorium on the bankruptcy of legal entities, the suspension of inspections, the easing of administrative tax liabilities including a moratorium on tax sanctions, a possibility to include expenses for maintenance of social infrastructure facilities in their costs, and – something very important – the involvement of sports-related small and medium-sized businesses and socially-oriented NGOs in state contracts. Since March 1, over half of all state contracts have been concluded with small and medium-sized sports companies worth about 22.5 billion rubles.
The second point. We have drafted measures to support domestic sports equipment manufacturers under the import substitution programme. The Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are jointly working on purchases of domestic equipment for health and fitness centres and arenas. They are buying this equipment directly from manufacturers through a specially created service – a kind of import substitution stock exchange. It unites over 14,000 different companies and we are encouraging sports equipment manufacturers to find consumers through this exchange. Now every seventh company has joined this service while manufacturers have received the opportunity to postpone tax payments with no penalties.
The validity period for certificates confirming the origin of domestic equipment has been extended and so-called reverse engineering introduced.
Third, the government has redistributed the funds that became available after the international competitions had been cancelled, through no fault of ours, to promoting sports. As part of the new federal project, “Business Sprint,” over 2 billion rubles will be used to build an additional 80 sports grounds for mass sport within walking distance of users. By the way, this initiative was supported by United Russia.
Initially, we planned to open 110 of such “smart grounds” this year. In all, 370 such sites, worth over 12 billion rubles, will be built in all our regions within the next three years. The grounds that will be built this year will make it possible for many of our people, primarily children, to feel the effect and start exercising right next to their blocks of flats.
Fourth, it was decided to adjust the federal budget funds that are being allocated to the regions for purchasing sports equipment for inflation. One billion rubles in additional funding has already been set aside.
As per your instruction, we are making sure that the installation of sports infrastructure continues uninterrupted. Co-financing of the construction of 167 sports facilities worth over 33 billion rubles in all regions continues. About 100 of them will become operational this year. We hope to be on schedule with all of them. There are major facilities like ice arenas with 10,500–12,000 seats that are being built on your instruction in Novosibirsk and Omsk, or a sports and recreation complex in Ufa for 500 seats. The costs involved in the construction will be adjusted as well.
To compensate for higher prices on building materials, budget allocations for sports infrastructure have been increased by over 1.2 billion rubles.
Fifth and last, we have altered our approach to competitions. We plan to hold integrated sports competitions with our partners from the SCO and BRICS. The sports ministers in the SCO countries will determine a joint plan for promoting sports in our respective countries in Tashkent in May.
We will soon submit documents for holding cross-years of sports in Russia and China for your consideration. The corresponding plan has been worked through. China is also very active in this regard, and it will help us maintain competitive activities in the country since athletes need to train and compete with other top-level athletes.
So, this year’s calendar includes over 4,500 events in 134 sports, both Olympic and non-Olympic, such as championships, cups, Russian national championships and other national competitions that we will hold as open events. We believe it is important to make international-level award payments to athletes participating in these competitions, including athletes from friendly countries. Please support this proposal.
And sixth. We are working on replacing the foreign bases where our athletes in some sports used to train. The Government has allocated over 800 million rubles within the priority measures to upgrade the existing federal training centres including adapting them for Paralympic practice.
Most of the training sessions this year will be held at centres in the Moscow and Tula regions, the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, and in Crimea. Russia must set up new bases in different climatic and nature zones. This is what you were talking about at the meeting with the Olympians, and one of the Paralympians said this. The Ministry of Sport has been instructed on the matter.
To conclude, I will emphasise that we can now clearly see how the present situation has virtually united everyone who sincerely cares about our country, and about Russian sport, and we actually have many friends. We must get through this situation with the most possible benefits for Russian sport, with our own modern training centres, with Russian technology and our methods of training.
You asked to report separately on how your instructions are being fulfilled as regards the introduction of the Fitness and Sport information system. The design, on the Gostech platform, was completed in 2021. Preliminary tests have been run and performance verified. It included 14 regions and nine sports federations.
This state information system is a very convenient tool for managing the entire sports industry across the country both in public and professional sports. It offers services for athletes and for everyone in sports, which means 67 million people in our country. The services have been worked out to meet users’ needs and expectations.
This digital platform is being made available to all sports facilities for free. It has a number of planning tools, for example, a marketplace where commercial information services for sports activities (they have a lot of traffic) can meet the consumer, or competition schedules that include not only international and Russian national competitions but also public events including in villages, as well as a register of over 300,000 facilities across the country.
Every citizen will be able to select a sports school for their child or make an appointment for a test session via their personal account. You will be shown an example of a regional system today.
Thank you very much. This concludes my report.
Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin: Mr President,
Allow me to report on the results of the Olympic Games, which you mentioned in your opening remarks.
Objectively, Russia won 32 medals. We excelled in the number of silver and bronze medals and that of fourth places. On the one hand, this is good news, as is the fact that 68 Russian athletes have won a range of medals. This is also the best achievement. For example, Canada had 59 athletes, Germany – 57 athletes, and Norway – 34 athletes. It is also important that we ascended the podium in ten events. This is also the best result.
But, of course, you were absolutely right in saying that we failed to gain eight gold medals as we had announced, winning instead only six.
What are the reasons? First, in our opinion, the management and training of national teams is insufficiently centralised, including the scientific, methodological, logistical and medical support. We think it is necessary to expand the powers of the Ministry of Sport and amend the regulations accordingly. We have drafted the relevant proposals.
Mr Chernyshenko has commented on the second objective point, which is also important. The Russian Federation lacks a number of sports training facilities, specifically year-round skiing, biathlon, skating, Alpine skiing, snowboard and freestyle bases. This has become particularly obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic and the period of sanctions. In keeping with the Government’s instructions, we have prepared relevant proposals with a feasibility study. We hope that you will support this project.
There were, of course, subjective factors, such as the denial of access to unvaccinated Russian athletes or deliberate refusal to issue visas.
An objective reason, as I see it, is also the fact that many leading Russian athletes – Pavel Kulizhnikov, Roman Repilov, Mikhail Kolyada, Maxim Gurov, and Eduard Latypov – were exposed to Covid. This happened shortly before the Olympic Games and they did not recover in time for the Games.
Naturally, we have conducted an expert analysis jointly with the Russian Olympic Committee and the federations. We have taken into account all the problems I have mentioned and a plan of preparations for the next Olympic cycle has been drawn up.