It’s been a turbulent two years for the sport. First came the Corona crisis – and hit the sport with full force. Lockdowns or games without spectators were the order of the day for months. Mass sport also suffered from the strict measures that were taken in between. In fact, the club system came to a standstill. The children were the most affected. They could not exercise for weeks, which is why they gained weight.
There is, however, another problem. The current situation in Ukraine and the associated inflation. Inflation does not stop at sports either. Peter McDonald, who was re-elected President of the SPORTUNION Bundestag with 100 percent approval, also knows this. “I think the last two years have been a challenging time for us. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic when we all instructed our sport clubs to stop sport. It was a terrible time for us,” McDonald said in an interview with Dominik Hana.
SPORTUNION also sees itself as an organization that builds bridges. That’s why the #sportverbindet initiative was launched. This is especially helpful for the children. For example, clubs offer free sports for Ukraine refugees. “We also see ourselves as a social institution. For us, as a value-oriented association, it was an issue to help quickly,” said the SPORTUNION President. According to McDonald, there is no better place to communicate than on the sports field or in the sports hall.
“If everyone were to be in a sports club, it would have a positive impact on social cohesion. On the one hand, in team sports you learn how to stick together, how to be performance-oriented but still act fairly. You can also see that everyone is the same on the sports field,” says Peter McDonald in “sport-eXXpress”.
The sport is currently struggling with issues affecting the general population. Peter McDonald knows that too: “Of course we now have rising energy costs. Inflation is rising. For sports clubs in particular, these are challenges that are not exactly blessed with money,” says the SPORTUNION President. The task now is to increase the current 80 million euros in sports funding to 100 million euros. The increase in the sports budget that is planned would therefore be all the more important.
In any case, it is clear for McDonald: “Austria should see itself as a sporting nation, should become part of our DNA.” A successful sports policy would not be measured by medals, but by the number of children registered in sports clubs. According to McDonald, a paradigm shift is needed in politics. But how can Austria become a sports nation? “That would mean that publicly built sports areas for sports clubs in schools would be open 24 hours a day. Even during holiday periods,” suggests the SPORTUNION President.
The entire interview will be available from 8.15 p.m. on eXXpressTV!