The world’s leading countries spend public money on sport

But blame only Russia for this

Ministries of sport, armed forces and domestic affairs as well as federations actively invest money to prepare a reserve team, keep sports teams and support strong athletes. Australia and the USA, Germany, Italy and France have been seen doing this... Read details in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

In Australia, the state invests in the national Institute of Sport

This year, the Australian Institute of Sport has turned 40 years. It opened in Canberra in 1981, and basketball and football became favourites among eight key sports. Men’s water polo started to be supported in 1984. In 1989, they took on volleyball.

The National Youth League started to develop in 1984. Teams consisting of compatriots played in it first — Croatians, Macedonians, Italians, Greeks, Hungarians... Sydney Croatia (Babić, Kalač, Miličić, Morić, Popović), Preston Macedonia (Lozanovski, Markovski, Spasevski, Stoychevski, Trayanovski, Trpevski), Melbourne Croatia (Viduka, Silić, Horvat, Jurić), Perth Italia (Carbone, Matassa), Greek West Adelaide Hellas and South Melbourne Hellas, Hungarian Saint George. That Australian football resembled the Soviet one this way.

Seven years later, in 1991, Australia was fourth in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Portugal. Portugal (Riu Costa, João Pinto, Figo, Xavier) defeated Brazil (Djair, Roberto Carlos, Elber) in the penalty shootout, while the Soviet Union’s U-20 team won Australia in a third-place match. Also in the penalty shootout. Moreover, at the group stage, the Australians won our team and finished first. This surprised Soviet fans very much, they didn’t suspect the green continent had strong football players. Nobody in the Soviet Union’s youth team became a great football player in the end. The fates of three of them were tragic. Valery Minko lost a kidney at the age of 22, Sergey Shcherbakov was paralysed at 23, Sergey Mamchur died when he was 25...

Two years later, Australians again finished fourth in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and a representative of the Institute of Sport — Craig Moor — appeared in their team for the first time. He began playing in Brisbane, while in 1988 when he was just 13 years received a scholarship in the Institute of Sport and moved to Canberra.

But the Institute began training players for the national team fully with the Olympics hosted at home in Sydney in 2000 when its graduates who took a young football players training programme accounted for half of the team. It was Blatsis, Bresciano, Grella, Zelic, Colosimo, Laybutt, Neil, Turnbull, Curcija and Emerton. By the way, the entrance to the international stage made Australia refuse to name its teams according to their nationality. Sidney Croatia was renamed into Sydney FC, Melbourne Croatia — into Knights, Preston Macedonia became Lions.

Progress in basketball, especially in women’s basketball, can be explained by the fact of studying in the Institute of Sport. The team was created in 1981, during the first year of operation of the Institute. The national championship was created simultaneously. At first, the Institute’s team played the role of “girls to beat” because the athletes were too young. But when Australia won a gold in the world championship for the first time in its history in 1994, its squad included students of the Institute — Carla Boyd, Michelle Brogan, Sandy Brondello, Fiona Robinson, Shelley Sandie, Jenny Whitley, Michele Chandler. Moreover, the Institute brought the students up, generously handed out them to rival teams because of which it won the first goal of the national championship only in 1999 thanks to 18-year-old Christen Will, Loren Jackson, Belinda Snell, Penny Tailor and 19-year-old Suzy Batkovic. They were just students and then became stars of the world’s female basketball. It is a unique case when a completely junior team wins a senior championship... The excessive generosity led to a situation in which the team kept bringing up strong players but didn’t achieve serious results in the championship anymore and it was disbanded in 2012.

By the way, fans of UNISC BC must remember Nathan Jawai, a pupil of the men’s Academy of Sport that wasn’t professional.

Volleyball and hockey in the USA

To make sure sports receive public funding in the United States, we should remind you that when preparing for the Olympics at home in 1984, Americans took the best male and female volleyball players from university teams to the national team. We don’t have to specify that those national squads existed thanks to public money.

Americans raised their junior hockey the same way 20 years later. There was no sense in doing this earlier because youth and junior championships had different schemes. The U-20 World Cup was immediately a world championship, while the U-18 existed for long as European Championships, and the first world championship took place only in 1999. This is why the country’s university championship was enough for Americans for long, the national team was made of them for both youth championships and Olympics. They began to create national teams with the help of students from the Olympics in 1972 (the NCAA opened in 1971), while earlier Olympic teams consisted of USHL players, which is a junior league formed in 1961.

USNTDP Juniors, a US junior team consisting of players under 18 years was fielded in this league in 1999. Earlier, teams used to be based in Ann Arbor, now they are in Plymouth. Moreover, USA Hockey company that was responsible for developing the project simply bought an ice rink. The project itself was designed to perform a complex of tasks: to bring up players for the “institute” of national teams, while hockey players were to consecutively go to either the NCAA receiving scholarships to study in university for playing hockey or the NHL with professional contracts.

By the way, university sport is mainly in the foundation of successes of the national teams of the USA and Canada as well as South Korea and Japan where university teams participate in championships of the country and their players are the skeleton of national squads (volleyball, water polo, handball, ice hockey).

Iran has improved in football and volleyball in the last years. This happens because the teams Naft MIS, Naft Tehran, Sanat Naft began to be sponsored by public enterprises from the oil producing sector. A tractor factory sponsors Tractor Sazi team. Aluminium, metallurgical, textile and energy companies are also involved in developing Iranian sport. A car company finances Paykan sports club that includes a football and volleyball team with playing coach Valerio Vermiglo who is remembered by fans for his performance for Zenit-Kazan.

“New Italian citizens”, French centres and service in army

This week, Dynamo-Ak Bars volleyball players have lost to Italy’s Novara with Sara Bonifacio. She and many other “new Italian citizens” (Bulgarian Ofelia Malinov, Slovenian Tatjana Fučka, African-born Valentina Diouf, Mariam Sylla, Sylvia Nwakalor, Nkemdilim Enweonwu and others) grew up at Club Italia. This team from the city Busto Arsizio was created with a good purpose — to train talented volleyball youth for Italy. Famous Argentinean coach Julio Velasco who coached in Italy and Poland that also has such a youth but men’s team in Spala was the author of the idea.

Volleyball is supported in Germany at national level. Berlin has two teams named Olympia (men and women’s) — it is a federal base for training players of the national team. Moreover, it is so successful that both men and women’s teams reached European cups. By the way, one shouldn’t confuse Olympia with Berlin Recycling Volleys with Sergey Grankin. They will have to meet with Zenit-Kazan next week in the Champions League, as the Olympians have to play literally with the second team and without foreigners according to an agreement with the national federation.

French people created the National Volleyball Centre in Montpellier as early as 1983 when the local team just started to appear among leaders of the world volleyball under Éric Daniel. With time, he became the president of the centre whose team performs in the country’s championship with varying degrees of success. It has the best French players under 21 years.

The same federal centre is responsible for developing basketball in France (women’s basketball is funded by the federation) and the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP), where men’s basketball is supported by the local Ministry of Sport and Youth.

Public support in Germany, Italy, France and Austria is attracting athletes from cyclic sports to service in the army. For instance, there are a lot of athletes from biathlon, skiing, bobsleigh national teams among Italian police officers. The same story unfolds in the German federation. And even Ukrainian Alyona Sachenko who became an Olympic champion in figure skating talked about her “service” in the army thanks to which she could do her favourite sport.

By Dzhaudat Abdullin

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