The meeting focused on the implementation of strategic and policy documents related to physical culture and sport and a draft Strategy on Developing Physical Culture and Sport in the Russian Federation until 2030.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today we will discuss the results of implementing the Strategy on Developing Physical Culture and Sport until 2020. This Strategy is about to expire. We will discuss the main provisions of a new policy document that will cover the next ten years.
Our colleagues will speak about the results in detail. However, I would like to note that overall, the key goal of the expiring strategy, which, as I said, expires in 2020, has been achieved. What is the main outcome? The main outcome is that the number of people, representing different generations, who engage in sports on a regular basis, has grown 2.5 times since 2009, to almost 60 million people. This number is even slightly higher than the target indicator of 40 percent of the population that was set in the strategy. Currently, it is about 43 percent. In 2009, it was only 15 percent. As we can see, the progress is significant and remarkable.
There is still something to strive for, as they say, and it is important to get practical results. There is a direct connection between the higher number of people doing sports and the higher quality and, most importantly, longer expectancy of life. This is common knowledge, not only for experts. It is obvious. Objective data confirm this statement. The average life expectancy in Russia increased by more than 4.5 years between 2009 and 2019. This is a good result. We must maintain this positive dynamic, if we want the share of people leading an active and healthy lifestyle to reach 55 percent by 2024 and 70 percent by 2030. Many countries show similar results. So when I say that there is still something to strive for, this is exactly what we need to strive for.
It is essential that quality matches quantity. Regular physical exercise should not only be a good trend (although this is also important) but a strong habit, a natural lifestyle for the majority of people in our society.
I would also like to note that this year’s difficult events have seriously affected the sphere of sport. As you know, thousands of sporting events, including the Olympics, were cancelled in Russia and all over the world due to the pandemic.
The impact of the restrictions on fitness centres and clubs was felt by the people, by professional athletes, sports organisations and businesses working in this sphere.
The new strategy must envisage measures that will help people remain physically active, support stadiums and sports clubs and, of course, prevent an interruption in the training of Russian national teams in case of such force-majeure.
The new strategy should also focus on creating conditions for intensive development of mass sports – I will elaborate later – the necessary infrastructure in schools, universities, offices and at home.
Over the past years, a lot of large, enormous sports complexes and arenas with thousands of seats have been built and upgraded; this is a good outcome of the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and student universiades among many other sporting events and international forums held in Russia. But today we have to focus on the widespread expansion and renovation of a network of small, well-equipped local sportsgrounds and centres. And we must make working out there mostly free of charge.
This is especially important for rural areas, as I have said many times, where such infrastructure is not developed enough. A lot of work has to be done here as part of the Rural Sports subprogramme to be launched in 2021.
Moreover, people have to know where and how sports are organised and find ways to engage in sport even when they travel to other regions, on holiday or on business. In order to do this, advanced technologies and digital information resources must be used. People should be informed about the location of sports centres and facilities and also about programmes designed for individual athletes and groups as well as for people with various levels of health and training.
Let me also remind you that at a Council meeting we decided to establish centres for the early physical development of children. Today I would like to see what has been done in this sphere, which I believe to be most important. Let us also talk today about the way in which our agreements on correcting the activities of facilities for children’s and teenagers’ sports are being implemented. Their main goal, regardless of which agency they are related to, is to create conditions for comprehensive personal development. In this work, we have to use common principles and approaches that must closely combine the growth of athletic skills with moral and intellectual education.
By the way, this is what happens in some semiprofessional schools. I have been to several football organisations for children, which work really well. This means there are good examples that have to be followed. There are additional education progammes and training standards in all sports.
Mentors also have to have equal opportunities and responsibilities. I would like to note that a coach in a sport school is like a P.E. teacher in school. And all sport organisations are in fact educational. Look what we have. For example, in Russia, it is forbidden for people with a criminal record to work with children, but only in the sphere of education. As we have said, it is necessary to harmonise all these relations, but interagency discussions have torpedoed this process. I would like to ask the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education as well as the Ministry of Education to cross the t’s and solve these issues within a month as well as prepare a report on the implementation of interagency programmes for the development of child, youth and student sports for our discussion at the next Council meeting.
Colleagues, I would like to stress once again that the new strategy for the development of fitness and sport until 2030 must, of course, be comprehensive and become an important tool for the achievement of the national development goals in general. As I said at the beginning, fitness and sport directly influence the quality of people’s lives, their health, emotions, lifespan and working ability, which means they can and must play an important role in addressing the priority tasks facing Russia and its society in general.
I know that council members have developed specific proposals on the further development of sport. I can see them here in the documents. I would like to ask the government to take them into consideration when drafting the strategy. Of course, we will talk further about this today. The strategy must be adopted before the end of the year.
Let us get down to work.
Vladimir Putin: You said the influence of sports is enormous, even huge. Of course, the achievements of our outstanding athletes – we have said this many times and will continue to say it – influence millions and serve as an example for millions and encourage people to go to fitness centres, sport clubs and sport school. This is extremely important.
It is true that from time to time we are pushed away from the heights our athletes deserve, through non-sport related means. But what can we do? You have been in sport organisation for a long time, since the preparations for the Olympics, and you know what the coaches say: we are playing an away game, so in order to win rather than complain we must be stronger than our rivals. And, of course, we should do everything we can legally to protect the interests of our athletes. I believe recently we are regaining this skill. I hope that our agencies will focus on this area, too.
In fact, it is not important how the athletes are counted abroad. For us something else is important, namely maintaining the increasing life expectancy rates; this is the main indicator of the Government’s efforts in the social sphere, in labour relations, in healthcare and for fitness and sport, sport for all people above all.
As I said, in 2009 the average lifespan – clearly this is an average number so please do not be too picky about it –was 68.78 years, against 73.34 years in 2019. This is a result, a positive result. It is necessary to use all the tools the Government has – in this case the development of fitness and sport – effectively in order to achieve the final goal of improving the health and quality of life of our people and increase life expectancy rates. In fact, the strategy we are discussing today, the sport and fitness development strategy until 2030 is dedicated to this. We need to adjust our strategy following our discussion today and start implementing it next year.
I hope that all our agencies and ministries will work effectively in this area, as I mentioned, with support from public organisations, leading coaches, the media and of course the Presidential Council for the Development of Fitness and Sport.
I would like to thank all the council members for your effective cooperation.
All the best.
Thank you very much.