Namibia: Sport Codes Apply for Government Support

(file photo).

THE majority of Namibian sport codes have been affected by the national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and have requested financial assistance from the government.

Following the launch of the government's N$8,1 billion economic stimulus plan two weeks ago, the Namibia Sport Commission this week sent out a questionnaire to sport codes requesting information about their financial needs and the response so far has been overwhelming, according to NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya.

"About 20 sport codes have responded so far and most of them have indicated that they would need financial assistance," he said yesterday.

Mwiya, however, was quick to add that at this stage they were just collecting data and that it remains to be seen whether sport codes will, in fact, be assisted.

"I compiled the data and submitted it to the acting executive director of the ministry of sport, Sivhute Katamba. Our job is only to provide the statistics and to send a motivation for the sport codes' inclusion into the stimulus package. So it's not a done deal yet, we just want to show government we also have people in sport who are affected," he said.

According to the questionnaire, an 'urgent meeting' was held on Wednesday between the NSC and the ministry of sport to see how sport could benefit with regards to the national economic stimulus plan.

Codes had to submit information about whether they had any athletes who are on sport contracts and whether they had any sport academies affiliated to their codes, as well as information about the loss of income of workers that are working for sport federations.

Mwiya said it was clear that sport codes had been affected by the lockdown.

"From the information received so far one can see that people have definitely been affected by the lockdown. Especially codes that run sport academies have been affected, because some of them are now running the risk of missing their rentals and being evicted," he said.

"Codes like gymnastics and swimming run quite a few academies, so they are especially affected. For instance, a swimming academy had to take out a loan to rent a pool so they are losing a lot of money, while others like basketball and karate also need to pay rentals for halls and gyms," he said.

"All these academies also employ people so they are suffering a loss of income," he added.

With most sport codes in Namibia still largely run on an amateur basis, Mwiya said there were only a few sportsmen and women who were on sport contracts.

"We only have three professional codes in Namibia at the moment namely cricket, rugby and football, but cricket said they are managing to survive with the assistance they receive from the International Cricket Council.

"Rugby and football have asked for assistance, but football's situation of course, started a long time ago," he said, referring to the standoff between the Namibia Premier League and the Namibia Football Association which has led to a standstill in football activities for the past year.

Mwiya added that a few other sport codes like athletics or cycling might have a handful of professional athletes, but it was the exception rather than the rule.

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