Official Alert for "Saving" the Lebanese Sports Sector
Lebanese sports lived yesterday a marathon day that began at 10:00am from the House of Representatives through a meeting of the Youth and Sports Committee with some of the federations of collective games, and ended in the evening in the Lebanese Basketball Federation, and between them a meeting of the Lebanese Football Federation, which made its decision By completing the season according to a certain formula. A long sports day called declaring a sports emergency to save important youth sector
The situation of the sports sector in Lebanon is no different from other sectors in a real crisis, given the difficult circumstances that the country is going through at all levels politically, security and economically dangerous. It seems that some view the subject of sport as a luxury or a luxury, the current circumstances may not be suitable for this kind of luxury. Some may consider sports as a sport and recreation on the Lighthouse Corniche or the like, but in fact sport in Lebanon, as in other countries, is a whole sector from which thousands of families may be living in the face of an unknown future in the event of neglect this sector, or consider ingesting living priorities ahead of the sporting concern.
Youth and Sports Committee
Based on this equation, yesterday (i.e., 9th January 2020) was a great athlete on more than one level. The beginning was from the House of Representatives, where the Youth and Sports Committee held a meeting, the first of its kind in the presence of its chairman, MP Simon Abi Remya, in addition to the presidents of the football federations Hashim Haidar, basketball Akram al-Halabi and volleyball Michel Abi Remya.
The sport and its distressed reality were attended for about an hour and a half in the House of Representatives building. The curators of these federations put their concerns on the table of the Youth and Sports Committee and came up with proposals and ideas that they announced at a press conference after the meeting.
The objective of the meeting was clear and announced by MP Abi Remya, speaking about a major problem suffered by the federations, which affects their activity in the light of "the tension that is taking place on the political and security level moving from one region to another, in addition to the difficult financial reality in terms of stopping the contributions of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sponsors and companies that sponsor federations and clubs have stumbled", he said.
The latter part may be the biggest concern of the committee and the federations. The economic issue is the primary concern of most of the discussions. The suspension of the Ministry of Youth and Sport's contributions in 2020 on the basis of a recommendation of the Finance and Budget Committee was a shock to those concerned. An order expressed by Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Fenech in a letter sent to the Finance Committee rejecting the suspension of financial aid to the federations and clubs provided by the ministry. Minister Fenech called for the abolition of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the event of the suspension of aid, in a sign of how important it is.
The ministry did not attend the meeting yesterday, but its "angels" were present by the astonishment of some not to invite them. It is an order that My father put in the context of the lack of bad faith, a consultative meeting between a parliamentary committee and sports federations, stressing that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is a key partner and coordination with it. The committee is very concerned about the ministry's assistance and is keen to continue it, rejecting the SAI's response to requests for assistance from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Abu Ruma confirmed that the budget cut-off clause would not pass. "I spoke with The Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee Ibrahim Kanaan on the subject and explained to him the importance of sports financial contributions, and there are probably exceptions for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, as happened with associations that benefit from the Ministry of Social Affairs".
Near Al-Adliya, specifically in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, there was surprise not to invite the ministry to the meeting, but the atmosphere of the ministry considers that what happened is not out of good faith either. At the same time, ministerial sources stopped at what was discussed, considering that the cancellation of the aid came from the finance committee without knowing the nature of the aid. "They are operational contributions to sports federations and clubs, not as sistance. These funds are part of the budget of these federations and clubs, which depend mainly on them in their internal and external sports activities, noting that this assistance does not reach 1% of the total general budget as the amount of 4.8 billion pounds is considered to be small compared to other figures in the budget", she says. Ministry sources on the subject of aid.
The football-related segment was talked about by the President of the Federation Hashim Haidar, who pointed out that the exceptional circumstances at all levels impose exceptional measures. He was pointing to a good proposal discussed at the meeting which is to issue laws exempting companies that support sports from fees and taxes, which will work committee youth and sports to consider it, possibly up to its approval with the help of the executive.
The Football Association did not delay in translating the words of its president into decisions when the executive committee met yesterday noon, and decided to complete the season according to a new formula based on the launch of the season again in one stage without falling to a lower degree. And participation in it by clubs be optional, with the establishment of the championship with players Locals without foreigners. During the meeting, a 10-day deadline was set for the clubs to respond to their participation in the tournament or not, after which the final version and the technical system would be drawn up according to the number of clubs. There are more than one point to be considered before the technical system is developed, such as the subject of seconded players and the possibility of returning to their clubs and playing with them if their current clubs do not want to play. In addition, there is a need to establish controls not to withdraw any club after the start of the tournament in the absence of a drop, through the development of deterrent decisions, as well as many technical matters to be discussed after the expiry of the 10-day deadline. The information indicates that most clubs will participate after they have studied their situation and met with their players.
The union's decision comes as a glimmer of hope to the workers in the football midfield and those who are suffering from it, where they will receive revenues that would have been absent if the season was cancelled, which was predicted by the game federation, which insisted not to cancel the season because it "kills the game and sports and negatively affects its employees. The goal is in the interest of the game and its people", union president Hisham Haidar said at the press conference and after yesterday.
Things Are Harder in the Basketball
In basketball, things look different. There was no official decision from the Federation yesterday, but the data indicate that the season is to be postponed until further notice. "Hate your brother, not a hero", A phrase used by an official to explain the reasons for the decision to be made. Unlike football, things look different in the absence of the Lebanese Federation assistance from the International Federation as it does in football. Five factors play a role in pushing the union towards the decision to postpone, the official tells Al-Akhbar.
- The first factor is to inform the carrier television of the tournament announcing the Basketball Association to stop moving matches and pay money.
- The second factor is that the official sponsor stopped paying the funds as a result of not renewing his contract with the Lebanese State, and therefore the sponsoring telecommunications company could not implement its contract with the Union.
- The third factor relates to the difficulty of moving money in banks, and therefore the inability to secure money to pay salaries.
- The fourth factor is the public and the difficulty of attending matches with a security wish that the basketball courts are small and the possibility of high problems.
- The fifth factor is the security situation and its impact on movement between regions. "How can I guarantee any team that goes to the Bekaa to play on the ground of The Anibal Zahle team not to cut the roads on it back or forth? How can I guarantee any team heading to Tripoli that it will not be threatened in light of the tensions that are occurring along the way from Beirut to the north?" asks the federal official in his interview with Al-Akhbar.
All these data prompt those concerned to make a bitter decision unless there is a new change in reality.
In the game of volleyball, the president of the Federation Michel Abi Remia indicated that a meeting will be held on Monday to decide on the tournament, which was supposed to start at the beginning of the year. "But was postponed and the foreign element was cancelled in it pending the establishment of the situation", as the president of the Federation said at the press conference.
So, it's a long day for Lebanese sports that is expected to be followed by other days at the beginning of the year, in order to put Lebanese sport back on track. Conditions are difficult for everyone, and every day new developments are hidden.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Hafiz Muhammad Adnan