YOUTH AND SPORTS MINISTRY TO BE ESTABLISHED
A new Ministry of Youth and Sports will succeed the State Agency for Youth and Sports, MPs decided passing on second reading provisions of a bill amending the Physical Education and Sports Act. The Minister of Youth and Sports, together with the Finance Minister, will approve the scheme for the distribution of proceeds from the Bulgarian Sport Totalizer (BST). The money from the BST will be distributed in accordance with a national programme, adopted by the Council of Ministers. Within a month after the law enters into effect, the sports federations and national sports organisations should submit to the newly-established ministry documents for licensing. Within the same term the sports clubs will have to file documenst for membership in the licensed sports federations, the approved amendments stipulate.Professional sports clubs may register as joint-stock companies or as non-profit organisations, the Parliament decided. Various sports clubs can set up united sports clubs, which will be non-profit juristic persons (such as the Levsky-Spartak sports club with more than 40 kinds of sports in its structures).The deputies rejected the possibility for professional sports clubs to keep the gained rights of using the specialized sports facilities and equipment which they have been using at the moment of their registration as joint-stock companies. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) demanded elimination of that provision with the motive that it didn't guarantee the use of sports facilities for their main purpose.Nonka Matova, MP from the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) and former athlete in rifle shooting, supported the opposition, claiming that the elimination of that provision would prevent the possibility for a soccer club, for instance, to have the right of using halls for restling, eurythmics, or table-tennis, belonging to a certain stadium. Her colleague from the NMSII and former free calisthenics champion Maria Gigova said that the provision should not be entirely dropped, and agreed with the Parliamentary Legal Commission.Bulgarian Olympic Games champions will be getting life pensions, the MPs decided. The size of the pensions was not specified. This was left to be done by the sports minister later on. The winners of gold medals from the Olympics will begin receiving the money after completing their active competitive activiies.Under the passed amendments, the Minister of Youth and Sports will be presenting for approval by the Council of Ministers a national strategy, a national programme for the development of physical education and sports, and a programme for youth activities. In the realization of the national programme for the development of physical education and sports, the minister will be financing together with the sports federations and the Bulgarian Olymipic Committee the programmes for training Bulgarian participants in the Olympic Games. He will be also supervising the observation of the regime for using the national sports facilities, owned by the State, the Parliament decided. The programmes for training participants in the Olympics and for youth activities will be financed through the national budget. The incumbent Chairman of the State Agency for Youth and Sports Vassil Ivanov, better known by his nickname Luchano, is the most probable first sports minister in Bulgaria. He has already stated on several occasions that he wouldn't object to assuming that post. Luchano, who has been patronizing Bulgarian boxing for many years, has insisted that tourism should also be included in the sports ministry, but he will eventually content himself with BST's millions only.