Tue, Apr 07, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP urges KMT not to mix sports and politics

By Rich Chang and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chen Ting-fei, right, Chiu Yi-ying, center, and Twu Shiing-jer yesterday in Taipei call on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators not to run for leadership positions at sporting associations.

PHOTO: CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday asked the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to refrain from getting involved in sports associations.

The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that a number of KMT politicians would run for leadership positions at the nation’s sports associations.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) told a press conference that the KMT Central Standing Committee had asked KMT legislators to run for chairperson of the associations.

“Sports in Taiwan would be finished if sports associations fell under the control of politicians,” Chiu said.

The KMT should not try to expand its influence into sports, which should be run by professionals in the field, she said.

KMT Legislator Huang Chih-hsiung (黃志雄), a former Olympic medalist, responded by saying that not everything was politically motivated.

Huang told reporters that it would be acceptable for a lawmaker to head a sports associations as long as that person cared about developing the sport.

It is normal for political parties to strengthen their support bases in this way, Huang said, adding that every political party did so.

“For example, the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association is headed by [former DPP legislator] Kuo Jeng-liang [郭正亮],” Huang said.

But Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Spokesperson Chen Shu-rong (陳淑容) yesterday denied that the party had asked its legislators to seek influence at sports associations, saying the Central Standing Committee had never discussed the matter.

When asked for comment, KMT Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千), who the China Times reported would run for chairman of the basketball association, said he was not interested.

KMT Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) also dismissed rumors that he hoped to take over the badminton association.

“Frankly speaking, I don’t play badminton very often,” he said.

“I was once invited to run for chairman of the Chinese Taipei Swimming Association, but I don’t know how to breathe properly when swimming, so I said to them: ‘What if I sink to the bottom of the pool’” Chou said.

Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said yesterday that the chairman of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA, 中華籃協), Wang Jan-da (王人達), should not seek to maintain control over the association once his term ends.

Wang had held the post for 20 years, Kao said, and during that time Taiwan’s international rankings in basketball had dropped.

He said Wang’s term would end this year, but it was likely that Wang’s son or another person representing Wang would run for the post.

Kao said the Sports Affairs Council should urge Wang to let go of the post.

Also yesterday, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) criticized the council’s supervision of its funding.

Although the council funds the nation’s sports associations, it does not have a mechanism to review how the money is spent, she said, which explains why the nation’s showing in sports is weak.

Chen Ting-fei said the council had budgeted NT$1.62 billion (US$49 million) to promote baseball, but allowed local governments to use the money to build local government baseball teams.

Some hired senior baseball players who had been fired by professional baseball teams for their involvement in gambling, she said.

The council did not use the budget to fund school teams responsible for training young players, she said.

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