Wed, Jun 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Act passes to help athletes land jobs

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The Sports Affairs Council yesterday welcomed the passage of the Sports Industry Development Act (運動產業發展條例) on Monday, saying corporations that hire “excellent athletes” would be compensated by the government for up to 30 percent of the athlete’s salary over a period of up to five years.

Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) said the act would undoubtedly help expand career choices for the nation’s athletes.

“So far, athletes have had very limited career opportunities after they retire. Either they become physical education teachers and coaches or they become government employees,” Tai said, adding that the new program would give them more options.

For example, she said that a large corporation such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co could hire an athlete to be an instructor of the firms’ employees.

When asked to define what she meant by “excellent athletes,” Tai said it would include those who represented the nation at major international events, such as the Olympics or the Asian Games.

For athletes who cannot compete in the Olympics or the Asian Games, such as the nation’s soccer team, Tai said the matter would require further discussions among sports researchers, sporting associations and corporations. Discussion were also need to clarify whether the measure would apply to both current and retired athletes.

Tai said funding for the reimbursements would not come from the annual operational budget of the council. Rather, it would come directly from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, she said.

The measure would also encourage more athletes to play for national teams, she said.

Ho Chin-liang (何金樑), director of the council’s research and planning department, said the measure would help extend athlete’s careers and also provide them with job security.

He said large corporations could hire exceptional athletes so they could play on teams owned by the corporations, adding that the athletes could become full-time employees of the corporations should they choose to retire.

“Corporations could also hire athletes and allow them to train and participate in sports events, although this still needs further discussion,” Ho said.

Tai said the act would increase demand for sports and offer incentives for corporations to sponsor sporting events.

“Whatever corporations spent on athletes, games, sports facilities or buying tickets for disadvantaged groups can be listed as operating costs when they file their taxes. There is no cap on how much they can spend either,” Tai said. “You won’t get the same privilege if you buy tickets to see a music concert or for the Flora Expo.”

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