Opinion / Opinion Line

To progress, sports sector reform must defeat the vested interests

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-06 07:54

To progress, sports sector reform must defeat the vested interests

A football player from China's top club Guangzhou Evergrande celebrates victory after a match. [File photo]

In February 2015, the top leadership approved a reform plan for soccer in China. This was supposed to start reform of the whole sports industry. However, it has met resistance from interest groups. People's Daily calls for firmer measures to push forward the reform:

Reform of the soccer industry has met resistance and it is still going on. Reform of the sports industry as a whole is far from satisfying, too, and that has much to do with resistance from within the sports bureaucracy. The attitude of these officials puts a heavy drag upon the reform process.

Some bureaucrats view sports reform with their own narrow interests in mind and do not want to give up their luxurious lifestyles. The longstanding practice is for sports officials to push athletes to get gold medals as this means the officials will receive big bonuses. The sports officials thus want to continue with things as they are even though everyone knows this way of doing things is no longer sustainable.

With that selfish idea in mind, some sports bureaucrats are trying to curb the reforms in order to protect their own interests.

It is time the sports bureaucracy adopted a new way of thinking. The sports industry should no longer be fixated on winning gold medals. It is a young energetic industry that can help propel economic growth, and help promote the fitness of residents throughout the country.

The sports authorities need to treat the industry as something that serves the public instead of only officials. Whether they are willing to adopt a new way of thinking will decide whether the reform will be success, and whether the dream of the Chinese sports industry will be realized.

Chinese sports have already missed several precious opportunities and there is not much time left to reform its outdated approach.

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