We are unpleasantly surprised, even disappointed by the discussion we witnessed on the yesterday evening’s main news programme on Croatian Television, on which a distinguished member of the Croatian Parliament commented on the state budget revision in the part referring to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport.

We are unpleasantly surprised, even disappointed by the discussion we witnessed on the yesterday evening’s main news programme on Croatian Television, on which a distinguished member of the Croatian Parliament commented on the state budget revision in the part referring to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport.

Not that long ago, in the 90s, culture and sports were financed from the state budged in a ratio of 1:1. Today, this ratio is far more in favour of culture; we think we will not be wrong if we say that it is about 16:1.

The Croatian Olympic Committee has never, really never been opposed to culture receiving that much funds, or more. But nobody has the right to deny sports the right and need to receive more funds. We thank the Government and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, as well as the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and Minister Dragan Primorac for introducing a budget item allocating funds for the Olympic Games in Beijing in August this year. Participation in the previous Summer and Winter Olympic Games has been financed from the Croatian Government’s state budget, as well.

The largest number of Croatian athletes ever will participate in the 2008 Olympic Games. There are 88 of them at the moment, 10% more than in Athens in 2004, and the list is still not final.

Don’t Croatia’s great athletes such as Blanka Vlasic, the handball and water polo national teams, Sanja Jovanovic, Mario Ancic and others deserve the minimum conditions to compete on equal footing as their competitors? To deny them this right would not be humane or correct. Nor moral.

Who has been providing us with this feeling of happiness, satisfaction, pride and patriotic charge?

Honestly, if there is something that has been continuously presenting and representing the Republic of Croatia, it has undoubtedly been sport and sports results. Everybody could see that during the Euro 2008 and it will also be the case during the Olympic Games in Beijing. Therefore, we cannot understand such a viewpoint, such way of thinking and this is why we not only cannot approve of it, but we condemn it.

Sincerely,

COC Secretary General COC President
Josip Cop Zlatko Matesa