More measures to protect livelihoods in Singapore's sports industry: Edwin Tong
First, a multi-faceted package worth $23 million was rolled out in mid-year to help various segments of Singapore's sports industry cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Next, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will be unveiling another raft of measures to further support the sports sector, said Minister Edwin Tong on Friday (Oct 2) in his speech as guest of honour for the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund "Live For Sports" virtual gala dinner, which raised over $125,000 for under-resourced athletes.
"We know that Covid-19 has affected the livelihoods of many members of our sporting fraternity, particularly those who operate as freelance coaches and instructors," said Mr Tong.
"I have also spoken to a number of them over the past weeks to better understand the challenges they are currently facing, the difficulties they see for themselves.
"To help the sport sector tide over Covid-19, we have put together a package of $23 million to spur innovation, create digital content, and of course, provide and protect jobs.
"We are constantly and will continually look at how we can better help them. Over the next few weeks, we will work on some further measures and a package to help preserve the core sporting capabilities and protect livelihoods."
More details on the new relief package for the sports industry will be announced in due course.
Acknowledging the disruption that Covid-19 has brought to the sporting calendar, Mr Tong, who took over the MCCY portfolio in July, said the sports fraternity should be assured that the Government remains committed towards our athletes and to achieving sporting excellence.
"The most important thing we can do, is to chart a path towards a safe resumption of activities," he added. "This is the best way to support livelihoods, and allow our athletes to do what they do best – train and compete.
"Together with SportSG, we have also had discussions on how to bring back many of our favourite sporting experiences, but in a safe way. We have made some moves, and will continue to do so."
Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, said he has met many of the national sports associations (NSAs) and their leaders to reinforce the commitment towards supporting our athletes. This includes an annual funding of $70m in High Performance Sports in areas such as coaching, equipment, competitions and spexScholarships.
He added: "But we know that funding alone cannot be enough – and we must, as a sports community, work together, be cohesive, united, and forward-looking. The bonds and synergy between schools, clubs, NSAs, our athletes, our stakeholders and SportSG have to be singular, aligned and strong. My ministry will support them."
The upcoming raft of measures comes only about five months after MCCY and Sport Singapore rolled out measures worth $23m to help the sporting fraternity. These include the $3m Enterprise Innovation & Capability Grant, $2m Active Enabler Programme, digital content initiatives and training opportunities, as well as the creation of temporary jobs.