Wed, Oct 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Lin Te-fu eyes rebuilding trust in sports bodies

In an interview with the ‘Liberty Times’ (the sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’), Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu expressed the hope that his agency’s decision to allow leadership posts at the various sports governing bodies to be directly elected by their members would help rebuild public trust in the bodies, which have long been mired in allegations of nepotism and political influence

Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu, second left, speaks at a forum in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Liberty Times (LT): Why are you insisting on direct elections for sports bodies’ heads?

Lin Te-fu (林德福): Because I listened to the input of numerous netizens and sports fans.

Direct participation in the elections by the public is the most direct form of democracy. This is called responsible politics.

By putting power into the hands of all members [of the associations], we can appeal to more people to get involved. The more people there are the more positive it will be.

Opening up the operations of the sports bodies to the public allows people to have a sense of participation. Only if the processes are transparent can you gain the trust and support of the public.

You can make use of public opinion. Whatever the laws, the opportunities or the social atmosphere, the public stands on the side of reform.

Why not take this opportunity to allow those members of the public who have the desire to vote for the leadership of these bodies do so?

Meanwhile, those who want to serve should during the elections present their platforms as if they were running for public office. After being elected they should demonstrate their competence by bringing their association back on the right track.

LT: Could you talk about the last step in your plan for reforming national sports?

Lin: On Wednesday last week, the Sports Administration passed the templates for the charter for sports associations and the election of the leadership positions of sports bodies.

There are two steps that remain to be carried out.

The first is for individual associations to amend their charters. Application for membership in these associations became open to the public on Sept. 20 when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced [amendments to the] National Sports Act (國民體育法). They will remain open until Dec. 20.

The elections are to run from Dec. 21 to March 20 next year. During that time the administration will maintain communication with the various sports bodies and provide assistance whenever needed.

LT: What is the cause of the resistance you are encountering? Is it due to a backlash from the associations or for allowing outsiders to be involved?

Lin: I previously acted as chairman of the Sports Affairs Council [now the Sports Administration]. I have really come to understand national sports in Taiwan over the past 10 years, especially the associations. If you suddenly change the way association heads are elected, it is unavoidable that you will encounter some problems, but reform is not about exposing and criticizing, and it is not about targeting anyone.

There might be some associations that do not understand this, but on the technical side of things we can provide assistance.

Some associations might feel deeply wronged and might feel that the more energy they invest, the more they are resented. If we open up and reform the whole organization and things change for the better, is it not a win-win situation?

LT: Will the elections affect the nation’s readiness for and performance at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August next year?

Lin: There is nothing to worry about — the selection of the athletes will not be affected. Just like if you change a director-general, the government department does not change overnight.

The training of athletes is handled by the administration and the National Sports Training Center. Some people are worried that the elections will affect the athletes’ morale, but let us be optimistic — maybe it will raise their spirits.

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