Pheu Thai rolls out sports policy

Pheu Thai rolls out sports policy

State enterprises encouraged to set up sports associations to help international athletes

Buttree Puedpong of Thailand (left) fights Daynellis Montejo of Cuba in the women's 49kg taekwondo competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Buttree went on to win the silver medal, one of six won by Thailand at the event. (Reuters File Photo)
Buttree Puedpong of Thailand (left) fights Daynellis Montejo of Cuba in the women's 49kg taekwondo competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Buttree went on to win the silver medal, one of six won by Thailand at the event. (Reuters File Photo)

The Pheu Thai Party will reintroduce a policy of encouraging state enterprises to form sports associations to support development of the country’s athletes for international competitions.

It will do this within the first 100 days of taking office if it can form a government after the May 14 election, it says.

The policy was first launched when the Thai Rak Thai Party, the predecessor of Pheu Thai under Thaksin Shinawatra, was in office from 2001-06, said Pimol Srivikorn, chairman of the party’s advisory committee on sports policies and president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand.

He said Thailand was able to win six medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as a result of the policy, even though it was cancelled shortly after the coup in 2006 that removed Thaksin from office.

He said the Taekwondo Association has only received support from the Government Housing Bank since 2005. Given the earlier policy’s success, Pheu Thai plans to bring back, he said.

More than 20 state enterprises make profits of at least 200 billion baht each year, he said, adding that just 1% of their profits would aid social development, the economy and international ties.

Pheu Thai would create an administrative panel for sports associations supervised by the Finance Ministry within its first 100 days, Mr Pimol said.

The panel would consider how to support the associations, with an eye first on the Olympics, Asian Games and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, he added.

At least one seat on the panel will be reserved for state enterprises that back one or more sports associations.

Such funding must be verifiable to ensure transparency, and the associations’ performance at international competitions will be used to determine whether the support they receive will continue, Mr Pimol said.

When questioned about the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), which has a budget of 4 billion baht a year, he said the sum cannot cover all sports due to various regulations, so the party’s policy would make up for the shortfall.

The NSDF was recently the target of allegations about conflict of interest and unfair distribution of funds. Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, the Palang Pracharath candidate for prime minister, is the chairman of both the NSDF and the Sports Authority of Thailand.


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