Spanish sport survives budget cutbacks

Madrid: The announcement of the 2014 budget may have brought bad news for many Spaniards, among them the country`s pensioners whose pensions for the coming year will increase by well below the rate of inflation, but there was a glimmer of optimism for the country`s sporting institutions which have seen their budget increase.

The failure of the Madrid bid for the 2020 Olympic Games was expected to lead to further cutbacks in public funding for sports, which can be seen as non-essential in times of economic crisis.

However, the 2014 budget announced by Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro Monday actually saw the budget for Spain`s Superior Sports Council (CSD) raised to 80.1 million euros for the coming year.

That is a 6.65 percent increase on the 2013 budget, which had suffered a serious readjustment in relation to the money spent on sport in Spain in 2012.

The year 2013 saw the CSD exist on a budget of 75.15 million euros, while in 2012 the budget was 121 million, along with a further 83 million raised through betting tax and the `quinella` (Spanish football pools).

Meanwhile, 2014 will also see Spain`s sporting federations receive subsidies of 36.8 million euros, which is six million more than this year. This will be a help, although it will not see them equal the spending power of 2012 when subsidies reached a level of 47 million euros.

The decision means that although many of Spain`s minority sports are still going to suffer hard times in 2014, they will perhaps not face the cataclysmic situation many had feared after Madrid failed in the Olympic Games bid.

However, as the Secretary of State for Sport, Miguel Cardinel said at the start of the month, it is important that many of Spain`s sports reduce their spending in line with their income and many sports such as handball and the country`s ACB basketball league are going to have to live more in line with the number of spectators they can attract to their arenas every weekend.