Football, Funding, Fading. Where’s the Focus?
By Jose Raymond
In his interview with Mediacorp’s 938FM, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sport Singapore Lim Teck Yin talks about Football, Funding and Fading, among other random sports matters.
Unfortunately, Lim totally leaves out a key ‘F’ word – Focus.
What is the Focus of Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) for Singapore sports as far as our athletes are concerned?
What is the direction for the athletes, the National Sports Associations (NSA) and the industry?
How will the Singapore Sports Hub, the structure which will cost the taxpayer a total of $4 billion over 25 years, help develop sports and the industry and fit into this overall strategy?
Simply put, what are the intended short-term and long term outcomes for Singapore sports and how will the public hold the Government accountable for its expenditure in the sector? What is the national strategy for Singapore sports?
In recent months, Sport Singapore looks to have driven public funding into ActiveSG academies across many sports, while at the same time seeking more corporate financial commitment through the One Team Singapore Fund initiative.
Sport Singapore, mandated through the Singapore Sports Council Act to plan and promote sports in Singapore for both competitive and recreational purposes, has also started organising camping and outdoor activities through its ActiveSG Outdoor Adventure Club.
How camping and pitching tents under the moonlight suddenly became the responsibility of Sport Singapore and not the People’s Association, Outward Bound or the Singapore Scout Association, borders on being comical.
Let’s not forget that every dollar allocated towards pitching tents and camping is one dollar less for our national and prospective national athletes.
One can only surmise that Sport Singapore’s funding is being plonked into grassroots development and community engagement while the Government seeks corporate partners to support high performance, elite development and also funding for NSAs.
Sports is already missing in the Committee on the Future Economy Report as a targeted future sector for development, despite the Ministry stating only eight years ago that sports is supposed to contribute to 3% of Singapore Gross Domestic Product by 2015. Has this contribution to the GDP since materialised?
More importantly, has the strategy for Singapore sports altered course somewhat?
Sport Singapore and its parent Ministry should make its sports strategy and its intended outcomes very clear for the public so that it can he held accountable in the future.
For greater transparency, Sport Singapore should also start making public how it funds NSAs and for what objectives. It is ironic that Sport Singapore insists on having NSAs register as charities to receive public funding but itself not reveal to the public how much it funds individual NSAs or athletes.
Greater transparency and a clearly communicated strategy for Singapore sports will help the industry and the public understand what is the Government’s direction for sports in Singapore’s future.
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