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Subsidies tackle problems of sports spaces

China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-06 07:41
Thousands of Wuxi citizens take part in the 2018 Wuxi Taihu Lake Hike on May 12. [Photo by Xiao Da/chinadaily.com.cn]

The Ministry of Finance has said that it will provide the local governments with subsidies to encourage them to open more large-scale public sports facilities to the public for free or at a low price. Guangming Daily comments:

People's passion for sports and exercises has risen dramatically. There were even 40 marathon races organized by city governments around the country on one particular day.

But the supply of public sports resources still does not meet people's needs. Reportedly, the personal average stadium area is 16 square meters in the United States, 19 square meters in Japan and 1.57 square meters in China. And many sports facilities in China are not open to the public, or charge high prices for people to use.

The national fitness craze has been a result of social and economic development. The supply of public sports infrastructure should be regarded as part of the supply of public goods, and it is necessary for local governments to increase their spending in this area.

In Brazil, although some of them are in poor condition, there are countless soccer fields where children can play for free after school. It is more difficult and more expensive for children to play soccer in Beijing, even though its public sports facilities are the most developed in China.

In the 1950s, the government built many sturdy concrete ping-pong tables in urban residential communities, which were free to use. As a result, table tennis became the most popular sport in China for a time, and China remains the dominant power in the game worldwide till now.

It is good news that the General Administration of Sport, the main supervisor and distributor of the 930 million yuan ($145 million) sports subsidy, said it will be allocated to stadiums according to the demand of local residents, not the number of seats in the stadium. Hopefully, the local governments can make the best use of the central government funds to encourage more people to take up sports.

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