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SBD Global/September 17, 2013/Olympics

Spanish Olympic Sports Federations Remain Cash-Strapped After Failed Madrid 2020 Bid

Madrid's failure to secure the 2020 Olympics has further crushed its financially-stricken sporting federations.
With the "illusion of Madrid hosting the 2020 Olympics now vanished, the desert of Spain's economic crisis is extending into Spanish sport," according to EL PAIS. The "public's subsidies have been exhausted" and Spain's Superior Sports Council (CSD) has "run dry." Many Spanish Olympic sports federations "are in financial ruin -- 25 of 63 are in bankruptcy." Federation presidents, who are facing 34% cutbacks in their budgets, "are the main actors in the tragedy." But "not all are in debt," and Royal Equestrian Federation of Spain (RFHE) President Javier Revuelta "is one of the fortunate." An idea championed by Revuelta, the Equestrian Tourism Director Plan (PDTE), "combines three old aspects of the Spanish economy: horse breeding, tourism and sport." Revuelta: "The PDTE that we started in '12 will be a basis for the spread of organized equestrian activity and it will be one of our main generators of our own resources. In Spain, there are 700,000 horses and the equestrian industry contributes €5B ($6.7B) to Spain's GDP and maintains 60,000 jobs. This federation had accumulated nearly €1M ($1.3M) in debt, but through controlled spending and generating our own resources, we paid our debt with the CSD in '09. We have gone from having a subsidy-resources ratio of 80-20 in terms of revenue to now having the inverse proportion." Revuelta referred to "strong Olympic performance as secondary, but announced that the Spanish equestrian team competing in the 2016 Olympics will be the most complete that it has been since '00." Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) President Fernando Carpena "is in the opposite situation" since the CSD invested a record amount of money in the RFEN during the first years of Spain's economic crisis, "coinciding with a wave of athletic successes." Carpena: "We are in bankruptcy. We recently hosted our best World Championships, with 12 medals this year. But we cannot sustain this with only 40% of what we received in '09." Carpena said that his federation received €2M ($2.7M) for '13 after receiving €4.8M in '09. Carpena said, "We will react or we will take a step back athletically." Spanish Rowing Federation President Fernando Climent "has considered connecting his organization with tourism activity, as the equestrian federation does." But Climent "assured that the organization would have to invest first, and it cannot." Climent: "In central Europe, there are many who row and produce tourism focused on this activity. But it is not easy to attract people. ... I have not stopped looking for private funding, but I always find the same response: that now is not the right time. We depend on the CSD" (EL PAIS, 9/15).       
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