The Cabinet of the Netherlands has made $120million available after a request for help for the country’s sports associations from the Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF)
In a letter to Martin van Rijn, Minister for Medical Care of the Netherlands the NOC*NSF called for a package of emergency measures to enable sports clubs to continue their important social and sporting roles once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
NOC*NSF President Anneke van Zanen-Nieberg praised the Cabinet of the Netherlands for the financial support, which she said had come at the time it was most needed.
“Many volunteers and a limited number of professionals come together to ensure an efficient and widely supported network of approximately 25,000 associations that bring sport to the core of society.
“This network is now under heavy pressure as important revenues such as canteen revenues and participation fees are lost and high fixed costs, such as the costs of accommodation in the form of rent, capital costs and maintenance, remain at the same time.
“We as a society cannot afford that sports clubs would disappear because of this, now that the importance of sport and exercise for our health has become so evident.
“It is great that the value of the Dutch sports infrastructure has been appreciated by both Minister van Rijn and the entire Cabinet – it is so highly valued.”
NOC*NSF general director Gerard Dielessen added the investment by the Dutch Government in the country’s sporting associations was “great news.”
“With this amount we can keep our 25,000 sports associations afloat in the short term,” said Dielessen.
“Minister Van Rijn also fulfils his earlier promise ‘that the unique Dutch sports infrastructure must not be endangered by the corona crisis’.
“We are working with the support of many clubs and are now working hard on a strategic sports sector startup plan, knowing of course that we are far from rid of this miserable virus.
“This requires a lot of creativity, solidarity, adaptability and above all patience as health is paramount.
“Nevertheless, I assume that our sporting society will gradually start to move again in the coming weeks and months.
“This is also urgently needed if we want to remain a healthy, fit and resilient society.”
Despite the money being made available by The Cabinet of the Netherlands the NOC*NSF added that it recognised that “not all problems have been solved” and that it wants to continue to “discuss other groups affected with the various authorities and other parties.”
Other groups that it highlighted as requiring further assistance included sports associations, event organisers, professional sports providers and specific groups of top athletes.