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Government Cuts Funding of Olympic Sports Due to Pandemic

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.07.23.

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic effects have also taken their toll on Hungary’s sports sector, as the sixteen ‘high priority’ Olympic sports can expect a HUF 5.7 billion cutback for this year, news site 24.hu reports.

The portal asked the State Secretariat for Sport whether the government has implemented any financial cutbacks to sports due to the Covid-19 epidemic and if the withdrawal affected the 16 high priority Olympic sports as well.

In response, the secretariat revealed that the support of the 16 key sporting disciplines was indeed reduced by a total of HUF 1.7 billion. Furthermore, the HUF 7.980 billion budget allocated in advance for the development of priority sports was halved as well.

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Therefore, this year’s budget for Hungary’s most important sports was cut short of a total of HUF 5.7 billion.

“Sports, like all sectors of the economy, have taken their share of epidemiological measures. In view of the emergency situation, taking into account some of the remaining tasks (especially organizing foreign training camps, rescheduling international competitions, etc.), we provided a 20% reduction in funding to finance the 2020 sports development tasks for high priority sports compared to the originally determined support. High profile sports were notified of the reduction on April 20, 2020. The sources available for achieving the 2020 sports facility development ideas for the priority sports have been reduced by almost half,” the state secretariat wrote.

According to 24.hu’s estimates, swimming will receive HUF 1.062 billion instead of HUF 1.328 billion, kayak-canoe funding will be reduced from HUF 920 million to 728 million, wrestling from 775 million to 620 million, and athletics will receive 608 million instead of HUF 760 million.

The secretariat justified the reductions in part with the canceled or suspended programs (i.e. the canceled training camps abroad, the rescheduling of international competitions.) But, support for the most sensitive areas have not decreased – the government has not amended private payments: athletic scholarships, coaches’ salaries, and so on.

Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI