The government has decided to award monthly salaries to professional athletes and sportsmen included in the national squads.
In a ceremony held last night (January 6) under the banner of ‘Our National Teams – Our Pride’, President Abdulla Yameen stated that the scheme will ensure all sportsmen and athletes officially representing the Maldives will receive at least MVR2,500 (US$162) per month.
Maldives Olympic Committee Secretary General Ahmed Marzooq described the move as a “massive step in the right direction” and congratulated the government on the decision.
Marzooq explained that the scheme ranks all athletes into categories corresponding to a different level of salary rates, with the categorisation of athletes assigned to the national sports associations.
Currently, athletes have to obtain scholarships abroad in order to pursue full time training, or must fit their training around their work lives.
“The government has decided to review the categorisation process and the way in which the national associations are utilising the money in April. This will give associations adequate time to have an idea of how best the money can be utilized”, Marzooq explained.
He also stated that as taxpayers money has now been assigned to pay for national athletes, the public and the state will demand more social responsibility from them and that proper standardisation, with regards to performance and codes of conduct, needed to be established.
Stressing the importance of proper technical evaluation of athletes by the national sports associations in determining which category they fit into, Marzook expressed joy over the fact that such a scheme had been inaugurated before the Indian Ocean Games – scheduled for August, 2015, in Reunion Island.
“This decision will definitely give a boost to the preparation for the Indian Ocean Games.”
Fourteen teams will represent the Maldives in 10 sporting events, he continued, noting that the Maldives aimed to achieve between 9 and 11 medals.
Assistant Secretary General of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) Mohamed Nasir also welcomed government’s decision, saying that the association will conduct a technical evaluation of how the funds are to be spent.
He was unable to give further details, as FAM Technical Director Mohamed Shiyaz (Mohan) was currently on leave.
Related to this story