New umbrella organisation for Slovak sports

Zdenko Kríž, the Secretary General of the Slovak ENGSO member, the Confederation of Slovak Sport Associations shares some news about recent changes in Slovak sport.

After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993 into two separate states the sport movement in Slovakia happened to be largely atomised and inconsistent. The Slovak Olympic Committee was the most influential sport organisation at the time, however, several other smaller organisations have been formed since and have been continually bringing together individual sport groups. The heterogeneity of the sport movement has been reflected in low ability of officials to engage more financial resources and better material and technical conditions for sports in negotiations with the governments and politicians. There were two unsuccessful attempts to unite all sport organisations into one single entity, although only the third one, after 25 years, has been finally effective.

On the 7th of December 2018 the Slovak Olympic and Sport Committee (SOSC) was established in Bratislava-Šamorín. It will gradually embrace all sport associations and organisations that are active in sports and fulfilling all the requirements comprised in the founding statute. At the upcoming General Assembly of SOSC in April 2019 another 10 new member sport associations will join and the number of members of SOSC will be expanded to 88 in total.

The head of SOSC is the 49-year-old entrepreneur, Mr. Anton Siekel who has been an active judoka. There are three appointed Vice Presidents; the first one is a former racewalker, Olympian and the President of the Slovak Track and Field Federation, Mr. Peter Korčok; the second one is the President of the Slovak Table Tennis Association and the Secretary General of the Confederation of Slovak Sport Associations, Mr. Zdenko Kríž. The third one is a two-time Olympic bronze medallist in shooting, Mr. Jozef Gőnci who has become the Secretary of Sport of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport in early 2019. It is for the first time that sports in Slovakia have a direct representative in such a significant position. Since his appointment, Mr. Gőnci has been facing challenging goals, such as the implementation of the National Sport Support Fund and the introduction of the so-called ‘Sport Vouchers’ (in amount of 100 EUR/year) for children who could choose what kind of sport or club to use it for.

Recently, the conditions for sports have been improving considerably. In four years, the contributions of the State have nearly doubled. In addition, just a couple of weeks ago the new national football stadium with the capacity of 22,500 spectators has been premiered in Tehelné Pole in Bratislava which will be used as the base for the Slovak national football team and the football club Slovan Bratislava.

Furthermore, the reconstruction of the administration building of the House of Sports is in full swing, which will become the seat of SOSC and other sport federations by the beginning of next year. These days there is also a continuing discussion about the creation of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport of the Slovak Republic.

The Confederation of Slovak Sport Associations has been representing Slovakia as a member of ENGSO since 1995 which has been contributing to the development of European sport on the long-term basis. After the establishment of the new umbrella organisation of Slovak sports, the Confederation is likely to end its activity after 29 years by the end of 2019. The new entity, SOSC, will soon start the discussions about the continuation of the Slovak representation in ENGSO after the changes on national level.