Government "to withdraw from ownership in sports"

BELGRADE -- Economy Minister Saša Radulović says the government is "strategically oriented towards gradually withdrawing from the business and sports sector."

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

This should "pave the way for private capital and public-private partnerships," he said on Wednesday.

It would create the conditions for investment in sports that would bring about the expected results, Radulović said at the opening of the third International Sport Economics Fair in Belgrade.

Radulović said that sport is an industry branch and should be treated with the same attention as other branches of industry, espressing his regret that it has been rather neglected in Serbia.

He said that the Economy Ministry has launched a procedure to obtain financial statements from sports societies, in order to review the situation in them with respect to assets and other important items.

A good solution for them is the public-private partnership model, Radulović said, explaining that under this model, the government invests its own property and sports clubs invest their property and brand, in joint efforts to attract investors and open the sports societies' doors to fresh capital.

“Without new investments, we will not get the results we expect,” the economy minister said.

If we want to attract potential sponsors, it is vital that we ensure better security at sporting events, Radulović said.

Head of the EU delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport agreed with Radulović on the security aspect, observing that many cities in Serbia have the sports infrastructure that they can use to generate revenues from big competitions.

Serbia has great potential in water polo, volleyball, handball and athletics, but it is essential for the country to make the sports sector an integral part of the economy and ensure the security level at football stadiums as required by the Union of European Football Associations, Davenport added.