Those who believed that Spain is a developed country in supporting sports may have been surprised by Dr. Nicolás Francisco Caballero de La Plata, the director of Physical Activity Sciences and Sports at Universidad Europea, who has a highly critical view of his home country. During a special conference for students at UniRitter and Fadergs in Porto Alegre, he pointed to the lack of support for the sponsorship of sports and high dependence on grants from clubs and federations. "To make it harder, there are no tax laws in favor of sports sponsorship in Spain, and some federations (except football, golf, and basketball) do not produce income," he said.
Caballero’s lecture was made possible through the Laureate International Universities network, which includes Universidad Europea, UniRitter and Fadergs. The special event was attended by students from management, biomedicine, physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition and psychology. Right in the opening, the Spanish teacher highlighted the celebration of the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. "It was an experience that brought many improvements and should also be explored by Brazil," he advised. He said programs were developed in health and exercise, encouraging municipalities to invest in sports management, in addition to educational improvements with increased development of coaches and sports science professionals. But the director also revealed that there are still many problems in the Spanish sports that need to be solved.
For Caballero, Spain still faces a reality where the sport federations can undermine projects. "These relationships between government and private companies often generate conflicts," he explained. He also spoke of the overbuilding that today, because of the crisis are underutilized and area a waste of public investment due to lack of planning. Even pointing out problems, Caballero believes it is worthwhile to adapt the Spanish sports model in Brazil. The enthusiastic director said Brazil has many advantages to develop a prominent position in sports world. "You are the second largest market in the world, measured by the number of clubs that reaches 18 000," he said, also emphasizing the estimate that the Brazilian economy is expected to grow 5% in 2013. "These are some of the indicators of the current importance of Brazil in the economy and industry of wellness, fitness and sports, and do not forget that the country will host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016," he said.
To adapt the Spanish model in Brazil, Caballero cited some examples of actions. He said more investment in sport for families is needed, promoting sport schools for Olympic athletes and encouraging sponsorships. "Brazil needs legislation for sport to be simplified and self-sustaining," said the director, pointing also to the need for new sports facilities for all sectors of the population. When discussing revenues in sport, Caballero cited strengthening the employability of high performance athletes and maintaining scholarships, sponsored by private companies. In the matter of sport for people with disabilities, he suggested greater accessibility in sports facilities and municipal programs.
In closing, Caballero praised some initiatives that are already happening in Brazil. Among them he cited the Athlete Scholarship (2016), created by the government, which will benefit 4,992 athletes, 287 of which are in the Olympics or Paralympics. Caballero highlighted the positive creation of the Ministry of Sports, the high demand for skilled labor, and the Pelé Law establishing general rules on sports in order to give more transparency and professionalism to sports at the national level.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.