Zanda says of the tennis leader that maybe he ran off somewhere. And he dreams of a sports ministry

The current House of Representatives does not have any sportsmen with successful careers like ODS MP and former ski jumper Jakub Janta. Today, he is involved in sports in politics, he also sits on the supervisory board of the National Sports Agency, which distributes billions for sports. According to the checks, in the past, the money completely disappeared and many officials ended up in court. “Conditions have changed,” Zanda says.

Jakub Janta holds two awards in his office at the Chamber of Deputies. He brought a crystal trophy from the National Museum. “I won the trophy for overall success at the World Cup in 2005/2006. I was the first Czech player to win the overall ranking in an Olympic sport,” he points out. The second is a wooden statue of the skier for his last victory in the World Cup. But the wife didn’t want her in the house, she thought it was kitsch, he explains.

You are one of the most dedicated MPs in the Czech Republic to the level of sport. You are also on the supervisory board of the National Sports Agency Reports of the Supreme Audit Office The sport does not monitor the use of subsidies, but in total it is 26.5 billion crowns.

I should immediately point out that this report covers the period from 2019 to 2022. Since then, the conditions at the National Sports Agency have changed significantly. And I clearly support the new leader, Ondřej Šebko (He has been leading the agency since December 2022. He previously worked at Purdue’s Hockey and headed the Rowing Union, and like Janta, he is a member of the ODS – note Ed.)

Nevertheless, these are serious findings about the agency’s work.

Of course we need to get an explanation from the company. We certainly don’t underestimate that. Ondřej Šebek tries very hard, but the playing environment does not make it easy for him. People in the game will want to get the money and then take care of it themselves. But it doesn’t work. It is supposed to regulate government money and its distribution and use. It is not really easy.

Don’t you think there are a lot of problems surrounding the game? President of the Tennis Association Ivo Kadarka Prosecuted on suspicion of misuse of subsidies, ex-football president Miroslav Belda, president of the skiing association, is under investigation David Travnicek Corruption charges await trial. And when the president of the hockey association, Alois Hadamczyk, opened the hockey championship, the audience booed him.

As for Loja Hadamcic, I know him well, he comes from the north of Moravia like me. I will not slander him in any way, I respect that the hockey players chose him as their leader and I believe he has done a lot of good for hockey. He played hockey all his life, worked as a coach, went into business and reached some level. When I went to Gravari to see what he had built with the help of the city, I saw how much they had managed. They have a beautiful sports complex there, they invest a lot in children and youth, they don’t just think about themselves.

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Mr. What do you think about football events around Belda?

This is already a very old matter, let’s wait for the final judgment of the court. As far as I know, he appealed and I believe in the justice of our judiciary. What more can I say? If he has done wrong, let him be offended. But it is important to respect the presumption of innocence, and often we prejudge a person and destroy his life.

According to many, Mr. who ruled tennis with a firm hand. What about Kadarka? The club wants the National Sports Agency to withdraw the subsidy.

Again, I don’t criticize someone before the trial takes place. For example, look we have the best women’s tennis in the world, many players are in the top 100.

Mr Kadarka’s merit?

I don’t want to defend him, but I think he undoubtedly had a part in it. He certainly didn’t do everything wrong. Maybe he escaped somewhere, but let the court really decide.

No offense, but isn’t it appropriate to judge Czech sporting events with a harsher eye? Aren’t you biased as a former athlete who is close to sports officials?

There is a certain unity among athletes. But I can say that when it comes to a critical article about sports, you show more sympathy to journalists. But I’m not biased by any means, and above all I say “who you fall for”. And let anyone who cheats be punished.

Sample of an interview with ODS MP Jakub Janta about current events in sports and distribution of grants. | Video: Radek Bartoníček

Hnilička was a victim and should not have managed the game

When the National Sports Institute was established under the Andrej Babis government, many promised that grants would be distributed fairly and everything would be transparent. But these are the problems that existed when there was no agency.

Although I do not support the creation of the agency, I think the situation regarding the distribution of grants has improved (When representatives overrode the Senate’s veto-point, they approved it by a single vote by a very narrow majority. Ed.) But changes have taken place under our government. The head of the agency does not have strong powers such as when he can make decisions on his own, and there has been head turnover.

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But the agency has to evaluate more than ten thousand applications, which means you can never rule out that some applicants will not try to commit fraud. But we are taking steps to reduce it. It is very important that the entire system is digitized which will bring more transparency.

The first head of the agency was former hockey goalkeeper Milan Hnielicka, MP for Babis. Ultimately, he was effectively ousted after a Treasury audit uncovered several irregularities. How do you rate his era?

I will stand by him because I think he is a victim of the system. He had to build a company, which was a very difficult task. For something like this, you need an army of skilled and experienced people so that an office that manages billions of dollars and thousands of grant applications can land successfully. The Supreme Audit Office also drew attention to the agency’s chaotic operations under Chairman Hnilicka.

Not your unity again among sportsmen?

I wouldn’t say that even knowing each other. We met as active athletes, I jumped for Liberec and he played hockey for the White Tigers in Liberec. In the spring, we met a few times in a bar somewhere. When he took the helm of the agency, I knew it wasn’t going to go well. The agency should have been run by an experienced manager with no political background, not him.

The new law will help sportspersons

When will the distribution of subsidies finally work so that it is fair and transparent and sports support is as efficient as possible?

I have been in favor of establishing a sports ministry for many years.

Like we have another minister?

No, there won’t be another ministry with more officers. I am sure some ministries can be merged. One could be the Ministry of Sports and the other could be the Ministry of Culture, as in neighboring Austria. The tourism agenda can be transferred from the Ministry of Regional Development because it is closely related to sports and is practiced in many European countries.

Why?

Because sports in our country is still an overlooked Cinderella. I try to protect the games everywhere I go, but it’s not enough. In the House of Representatives, they talk about pensions and stuff, but can you imagine if they talk about putting more money into sports? Let’s face it, there are more important things than sports.

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Little money goes into sports?

Money in the game is still limited. Although it is necessary to add money from regions, cities and municipalities to give the state. We definitely need to invest more in sports infrastructure. When this money is distributed, the demands are much greater than the supply. Some four years ago, when I analyzed our debt for sports infrastructure, it was 250 billion crowns. At today’s prices, it would be significantly higher.

But the National Sports Agency’s budget is not small.

If we talk about the agency’s budget as a whole, it has fluctuated around six to seven billion crowns since its establishment in 2019. This is not enough to support investments in clubs, talented youth, the national team and new equipment. Playgrounds across the country.

The budget will not change much in the near future, but athletes are expecting a new law on sports.

This is a very important law. I am very happy, it will help the game significantly.

What?

For example, it covers basic concepts such as professional or amateur athlete, coach, sports associations, etc., which are key to properly setting up an operational organization. At the same time, it will simplify the normal process for thousands of applicants for financial assistance – from a complex grant mechanism to a contribution form. With such a move, the bureaucratic burden on sports clubs would be greatly reduced and payments would be made to them much faster than is the case today.

But with a year and a half to go before the election period, won’t he just stick to that motion?

I hope we will succeed. The proposal is being prepared very thoroughly. Also, with the participation of representatives from all parties, it can be expected to garner public support.

Can I see the proposal?

hold on It will be in paragraph form by the end of May, then we will send it to individual ministries for comments, and it will appear in the House of Representatives for discussion by November.

You seem like a big optimist to me…

I am an optimist. I still have it from when I was active in the sport.

Video: The trophy was in the National Museum. And this wife doesn’t want him at home, Zanda shows the cups

Former ski jumper Jakub Janta showed off two trophies he has in the Chamber of Deputies. | Video: Radek Bartoníček

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