Restore faith in sports
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Restore faith in sports

The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) -- a state agency managing the 5.5-billion-baht fund for sports development -- has never failed to spark controversy in the sports industry.

Recently, anonymous letters containing complaints about its operations, including allegations of a conflict of interest, inefficiency and discrimination in budget allocations were leaked to the media.

The release prompted the fund's management and a legal representative to defend themselves, dismissing all allegations as groundless.

The NSDF also announced that legal action will be taken against those who have caused damage to the fund manager's reputation by "spreading false information," particularly those in the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT).

Apparently, NSDF's management suspect it was the SAT who leaked the letters.

The NSDF lawyer also warned the media to handle the news "in a responsible manner".

The warnings prompted the Sports Writers Association of Thailand and the Online Sports Media Association to issue a joint statement affirming the role of the media in reporting on any incidents that affect the development of Thai sports. The associations rebuked any attempts to intimidate or threaten the press, and encouraged media outlets to pursue their reporting role with fairness and accountability.

Despite the letters' lack of credibility due to their anonymity, it is the NSDF's duty to clarify the facts and communicate with taxpayers to show how the 5.5 billion baht has been managed.

Any communication in the form of media intimidation, if it occurs, is unacceptable.

This is not the first time the NSDF has faced such contention.

Prior to these anonymous letters, various sports associations working with the NSDF had complained about long delays surrounding financial support, which slowed down sports development projects.

The NSDF has to provide financial support to 77 provincial sports associations and 89 national sports associations and developing the country's sports industry.

Because this fund has many stakeholders, the NSDF must listen to criticism and take it into account for the sake of the sports industry.

Also, since the main source of the fund is taxpayers' money, the NSDF's financial allocations must be ready for audit and open for scrutiny.

The SAT set up a panel to probe the matter last month, but according to media reports, the panel has not yet received any clarification from the fund's management.

This controversy highlights the need to promote transparency and accountability in the NSDF.

Rather than threatening to file lawsuits against those who leaked the allegations, the fund's management should cooperate with the SAT and other agencies to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon as chairman of the NSDF and SAT boards must step in to restore trust in the fund.

He should set up an independent investigation to ensure that taxpayers' money is well spent and clear all suspicions.

After all, how can the country's sports industry and its athletes flourish when the state agency responsible for development is accused of conflict of interest and lacking transparency?

Editorial

Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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