Panel on Sport after the Pandemic agrees crisis could curb greed in sport

Ljubljana, 27 March - Participants of a video conference organised on Friday by the STA agreed that the coronavirus crisis can also present an exercise in modesty for big sport and be used as a chance for a new beginning.

A football.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Entitled Sport after the Pandemic, the conversation featured former basketball star Boštjan Nachbar, the secretary general of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Blaž Perko and the director of sports agency SportMediaFocus Tomaž Ambrožič.

Nachbar, who serves as the director of the players' trade union in the basketball EuroLeague, called for change, "for a different modus operandi, for a cleansing of organisations, clubs and others who have not been operating in the best interest of athletes".

"If we are looking for some optimism in all of this, it can been seen as a reset opportunity. Perhaps clubs will have smaller budgets in the short-term, but they will be healthier, operate in a more transparent fashion. I'm sure this doesn't only apply to basketball," the former NBA player said.

Nachbar added that absent cooperation, it could well happen that the EuroLeague as known so far will no longer exist and that some large clubs could disappear as well.

Perko agrees that this should be used as a opportunity to start fresh, but he warned that smaller sports that may be less attractive commercially but still involve large number of children could have trouble returning to their present level if things come to a total halt.

"We can look at what can be fixed, changed, rationalised and develop sport in healthier way. The most commercialised, professional sports are marked by figures that make your head spin," Perko said, while pointing to how long it took for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed.

Meanwhile, Ambrožič, who warned that some clubs are now trying to unilaterally change contracts, agreed taking a step of two back "to a healthier situation, to less greed" was necessary.

He believes that sports may become even more attractive to people after the crisis, while he noted that "the 2021 Olympics can be a celebration of what people managed to beat".

© STA, 2020