At a press conference on Thursday, Luxembourg's Minister of Sports Dan Kersch presented details of specific financial assistance available for the sports sector as part of the national "Restart Sports" stimulus plan to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
Indeed, the consequences of the health crisis on the sports sector have been serious and this has also been felt in the Luxembourg sports world, which boasts 54 approved sports federations and some 1,600 affiliated sports clubs. While sports federations or sports clubs may benefit from partial unemployment, where applicable, for employees hired on the basis of an employment contract, it should be noted that the Luxembourg sports movement relies for the most part on non-professional structures and on volunteering and most sports associations do not fall into one of the categories that can request state financial assistance, at present.
As such, the implementation of a recovery plan in the sports sector aims to both preserve the treasury of the sports movement and invest sustainably in the health of the population through sports activity. Various aids and measures are also envisaged:
- Specific flat-rate aids for affiliated competitive sports clubs: Subsidies are intended to financially support affiliated sports clubs governing a competitive sport which have suffered financial losses following the confinement measures taken to stem the spread of COVID-19. Financial losses can arise at two levels, namely costs actually incurred for cancelled sporting events or loss of profits for events which could not or cannot take place in the near future. To this end, specific flat-rate financial assistance is granted to each sports club governing a competitive sport and affiliated to an approved sports federation in the order of €20 per competition license. The minimum allocated per club will be €250. The aid will be paid to sports clubs on the basis of a request to be addressed to the Ministry of Sports until 31 December 2020 at the latest via a specific form on guichet.lu.
- Specific aid for affiliated sports clubs: This aid is intended for sports clubs affiliated with an approved sports federation to compensate for revenue losses for possible cancellations of events or international organisations, organised for at least five years, and can claim losses of related revenue. The maximum aid to be allocated per club will be €3,000. The related requests, with supporting documents, must be sent via specific form to the Ministry of Sports by 31 December 2020 via guichet.lu.
- Hiring of an IT technician within COSL and made available to all approved sports federations: In the context of a rush towards digitalisation and the needs of approved sports federations to follow technological development, the Ministry of Sports will participate in the financing of an IT expert, if necessary, hired by COSL, to assist federations (or even COSL) in the field of IT or new media. The IT specialist in question will also be able to guide the sports federations interested in creating the IT tools necessary for the IT management of licenses. The related agreement with COSL will be adapted accordingly.
- "Lëtzebuerg lieft Sport" (Luxembourg loves sport) awareness campaign: In the spirit of sustainability (beyond the crisis), the Ministry of Sports will launch a "Lëtzebuerg lieft Sport" awareness campaign this autumn to present a new concept or even a new philosophy of sport in the Grand Duchy, encompassing all areas and actors of Luxembourg sport. This campaign is intended to promote sporting activity from an early age and following the model of "Long Term Athlete Development" (LTAD) promoting the long-term development of sportspeople, taking into account the different stages of their life and environment while placing the athlete at the centre of developments. This starts with the youngest for whom incentive, play and fun come before any notion of training, up to adult (competitive or otherwise) and elderly athletes.
- Measures in favour of a basic motor education adapted to children: The Ministry of Sports is promoting the implementation of a concept allowing children up to 12 years old to benefit from an adapted motor development. To facilitate collaboration and ensure the relay between the various actors, namely municipalities, schools, sports clubs, LASEP, parents and childcare structures, the Ministry of Sports will participate in the financing of the personnel costs of a "sports coordinator", with the involvement of municipalities. The role of this sports coordinator is to encourage dialogue between the actors involved, to play the role of intermediary, relay or even facilitator in order to guarantee the smooth running of physical activity within the framework of the daily programme. To encourage municipalities to use the services of a sports coordinator, the Ministry of Sports will participate financially at a rate of 50% in salary costs (including employer charges), capped at 150% of the minimum social wage for qualified employees, for a three-year period. The related provisions will be settled through agreements. The municipalities or municipality unions concerned must address their formal commitment requests with a first concept, which can then be refined together with the various players, to the Ministry of Sports by 31 December 2020.
- Compensatory measures for the absence of physical education classes in primary schools: In light of the continued absence of physical education classes in schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Sports will participate financially in any new and specific initiative taken at the level of municipalities, approved sports federations and affiliated sports clubs, intended to offer physical and sporting activities for children ahead of the start of the new school year on 15 September 2020. Applications for a subsidy in this area must reach the Ministry of Sports before 31 December 2020.
- Assistance in acquiring sporting goods and equipment: To support the initiatives of approved sports federations, affiliated sports clubs and non-profit organisations, the Sports Ministry will participate on a flat-rate basis in the acquisition of sports equipment. Requests and supporting documents relating to the acquisition of sporting goods and equipment must reach the Ministry of Sports by 31 December 2020 at the latest. State participation is capped at €5,000.
- Participation in the funding of outdoor sports facilities promoting physical activity and leisure sport: The Ministry of Sports will also participate in the costs of new construction, modernisation and renovation of sports facilities (mostly outdoors and therefore accessible to everyone) in order to encourage young people, adults and senior citizens to practise sport and move in general to maintain or perfect their health and well-being. For this kind of infrastructure, the subsidy from the ministry to municipalities and unions will increase from 20 to 35%. State participation is capped at €50,000.
- Financial participation in the research project initiated by the LUNEX International University of Health, Exercise and Sports: The Ministry of Sports will participate financially in this study which aims to identify the impact of COVID-19-related confinement on Luxembourg sports and more particularly on approved sports federations and their affiliated sports clubs. The results of this study could be integrated into the creation of a sport satellite account for Luxembourg, which will serve to enhance the economic dimension of sport and better measure the weight of sport for the national economy.
- Support for volunteering in sport: As volunteering remains essential for sport and to avoid a possible reduction in volunteering as a result of confinement measures, new measures will be taken to further encourage and enhance volunteering in this sector.
The total amount of financial aid envisaged in the Restart Sports plan is €5 million.