Vladimir Putin: ″By 2024 more than half of Russia’s population should be involved in regular sports activities″

Today, Vladimir Putin opened the meeting of the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport in Moscow. The Head of State declared that “the field of sports and physical fitness was and remains one of the top priorities of our social policy.”

– I will state the obvious, but it is in no way less significant: going in for sports is an opportunity for self-fulfillment, an opportunity to reach a new quality of life for each person.

As a matter of fact, the main purpose of multiple international and national competitions that have been held in recent years at home, in Russia, has been precisely to promote a culture of healthy living.

Promoting sports is an important objective and the new TV channel, MATCH.Strana, serves this aim. The channel was created to cover sports events of all levels, but, first and foremost, those in the regions of the Russian Federation.

And we have seen some very good results. Over the past 10 years, the number of those who have chosen an active lifestyle and sports as a leisure activity has increased from 17 to almost 40 percent exceeding 54 million people.

At the same time, I would like to remind everyone that our goal was to involve more than half of the Russian population (55 percent) in regular sports by 2024.

To do this, we need to take a proactive approach and to develop public sports, to impart interest for physical fitness from childhood and to cultivate a responsible attitude towards ourselves, to fully support the interest of middle-aged and senior citizens in sports, as well as to create the relevant infrastructure.

Naturally, the development of public sports should be taken into account as part of our national projects, all of which are created in consideration of the interests and needs of the individual.

It is all the more important to do this as part of programmes such as Demography, Housing and Urban Environment, Healthcare and Education, which are designed to create modern, comfortable conditions for people’s lives, and consequently for sports activities.

According to the working group of the Council, these issues are not fully reflected in the national programmes. Of course, we can and should improve this situation. I ask to include events for the development of physical fitness and sports into national project passports and provide financial support for them.

Furthermore, next year the current Strategy for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport will expire. In view of today’s conversation, I want the Government (we will talk more about this separately) and the Ministry of Sport to readily start developing a new Strategy for the period up to 2030 and adopt it no later than October 2020 in order for us to proceed to the smooth and effective implementation of this document.

Today, I would like to focus on our immediate tasks.

First, as I have already said, this includes the further development of public sports infrastructure. Such infrastructure should really be within walking distance. I would also like to stress the need to involve and effectively use the sports facilities of educational organisations, for instance schools. This is crucial and in demand, especially in rural areas.

Next, it is necessary to create the most favourable conditions for public-private partnership in the field of sports and physical fitness, to use, in liaison with public budgetary resources, the potential offered by entrepreneurial initiative, the desire of small and medium-sized businesses to work in public sports and offer services to citizens ranging from the creation of affordable specialised sports clubs to the manufacturing of inexpensive sportswear and equipment.

In addition, it is no secret that professional sports, major sporting events and tournaments are commercially very attractive as advertising companies and various lotteries earn a substantial amount in terms of income. In short, the whole business industry is closely linked to the sports sphere.

It is my view that we need to carefully analyze the relevant regulatory system and provide clear and understandable principles in order to purposefully allocate part of the income generated in the professional sports sphere for the development of public sports and the training of new star athletes capable of setting an example for the younger generation.

I would also like to address the issues of cooperation between the Russian Olympic Committee, the national sports federations and the specialised departments with international sports organisations.

It is imperative to significantly increase Russia’s participation in drafting and implementing decisions on key issues on the international sports agenda, as well as in the systematic approach to protect the rights and interests of our athletes. I would like you to work proactively and consistently in this regard, based on common approaches and a coordinated policy.

This directly concerns the well-known doping issue. Russia has fulfilled all its requirements in terms of more effective anti-doping efforts. Constructive cooperation with relevant international agencies has been re-established. We have to finally resolve the remaining matters and do everything possible so that all the members of our national team participate fully at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 and are not subject to any restrictions. We must not provide any pretext to those who use sport for political purposes to act against the interests of Russia.

I would like to emphasise that many aspects of maintaining the international status of Russian sports and ensuring domestic development depend on competent coordination. All ministries, departments, public organisations whose activities are related to sports should work together as closely as possible and have common integrated development programmes in specific directions. This includes the introduction and use of advanced scientific and technical achievements, as well as human resourcing.

And I agree with colleagues who have expressed the need for unified, so-called comprehensive standards and requirements for the training and qualification of specialists working in the system of school, supplementary and higher education.

The following topics also require the same degree of attention – matters connected with improving the system for protecting the labour rights of coaches and athletes, the development of specialised medical care and rehabilitation for people who have dedicated their lives to sport. And of course, measures should be developed to further encourage and support athletes and coaches.

In high achievement sports this task has been successfully handled for many years by the Russian Olympians Foundation. But we need to cover all levels of sport, provide support for enthusiasts and devotees who work hard and implement the important, promising projects, and as a result act as true mentors to young people.

I ask you to think about how to use the Presidential Grants Foundation and the grant programs of the relevant ministries and regions for these aims, – concluded Vladimir Putin.