Šebek highlighted the support of women's collective sports, its future is uncertain

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Šebek highlighted the support of women's collective sports, whose future is uncertain

Prime Minister Petr Fiala inaugurated the new chairman of the National Sports Agency Ondřej Šebek, December 1, 2022, Prague.

Prague – Chairman of the National Sports Agency (NSA), Ondřej Šebek, at today's conference on the financing of women's sports, highlighted the successes brought by the project to support women's collective sports with a view to their participation in the Olympic Games. According to him, they manifested themselves most quickly in smaller associations, such as rugby or field hockey. The project was also appreciated by the representatives of the unions present. But its future is uncertain, the NSA cannot plan with a longer than one-year horizon.

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The project aims at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, and in the case of hockey at the 2026 Olympics in Milan. It has been operating for the second year, eight unions divided 150 million crowns this year. “In addition to the standard funding, the NSA gives the unions funds to finance their women's team. For some smaller unions, the support of the women's team is at the level of the previous support of the entire union,” explained Šebek.

Especially in sports, where funding has grown by leaps and bounds, the effect came immediately. “Perhaps in rugby and field hockey, the results appeared surprisingly early even for the sports associations. They are still in the game for Paris. It has shown that money can improve the quality,” noted Šebek. The rugby sevens team won bronze at the European Games and secured participation in the additional Olympic qualification. The women's field hockey players finished second at the European Championship of the second division, thanks to which they will play the qualification for the 2024 Olympics in January.

The general secretary of the Czech Handball Association, Šárka Drozdová, considers the subsidy from this program essential. “We could have founded another team of female cadets, it is starting to show. Our teenage girls currently qualified for the World Championship and finished twelfth at the European Championship. Another thing we could afford was to hire specialist coaches, for example for goalkeepers, we started working on conditioning. “Nordic countries and other countries that are more successful do a lot of fitness, which was our problem. We can afford health care,” she said.

Even the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR) would not be able to do without these funds for women. “We give half of the support to the national team, half to the clubs. We pay for the coaches there. It can greatly help us to get further in women's football. Thanks to this support, we can implement projects for which we would not have any money left at FAČR. Thanks to this, we can to be competitive in Europe. It is the strongest in women's football, which is why it is all the more difficult to qualify for major events,” said Erich Brabec, head of the women's football section of the FAČR.

Female hockey players, who won bronze medals at the last two World Cups, are already certain to participate in the Winter Olympic Games in 2026. The union uses the money from the NSA project to support youth. “We have opened the U19 futures project for talented girls who have the ambition to get into the team for the 2026 Olympics. It will be based in Holešovice, it is in cooperation with Sparta. The second project is the U15 category, which is aimed at the 2030 Olympics,” explained the chairperson of the women's commission of hockey and the manager of the women's national team, Tereza Sadilová.

It is not clear how the project for women's collective sports will continue. “We are not able to give a long-term forecast. We have annual budgets. Although I would like to promise a specific amount for the next period, I am unable to do so,” lamented Šebek.

The question is how much the planned NSA budget cuts. For next year, the government plans to decrease sports support from the current 6.9 to 5.2 billion crowns. NSA Vice-Chairman Roman Brandýs said today that this year's amount is to be maintained and it is on the right track. “We will hope until the end of September, in October it will be definitive. If we stay at zero, that the budget from the current year 2023 will be maintained for 2024, then support for women's sports could remain,” he added.