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In Vietnam, sports federations’ progress obstructed by government officials

The development of national sports federations in Vietnam has been stuck in a Catch-22 situation for a long time, with the direct involvement of sports officials from the central government.

Outdated regulations result in ineffective outcomes of the organizations, and consequently they cannot attract the contributions of qualified people.

Nguyen Danh Thai is now the chairman of the Vietnam Tennis Federation after he retired from the post of deputy sports minister in 2010.
Nguyen Danh Thai is now the chairman of the Vietnam Tennis Federation after he retired from the post of deputy sports minister in 2010.

It is the lack of a workforce in the management apparatus that requires sports officials in their retirement age to fill in the gap.

These obsolete regulations have yet to be modified to catch up with the latest developments.

This explains why successful businesspeople who are invited to chair sports federations reject the offers.

Le Quoc Phong, chairman of the board of directors and general director of the fertilizer company Binh Dien and owner of the well known Binh Dien volleyball club, once said that he knows he cannot lead the Vietnam Volleyball Federation effectively with the current unsuitable regulations.

Tran Van Nghia, former general secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Volleyball Federation, added that the management of sports in Vietnam has remained unchanged for the last 30 years.

Unsuitable regulations and localism cause qualified people to turn away from running sports federations, Nghia said.

Recently, national sports federations have been designed to ‘welcome the resources from society,’ commonly spread as ‘socialization’ in Vietnam, but they are still stuck under these outdated regulations.

Despite realizing the out-of-date regulations, the General Department of Sports and Physical Training under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has continued assigning staff to hold the position of general secretary at the ‘socialized’ federations.

So no qualified ‘ordinary people,’ or those who are not state officials, risk the honor of their own names and enterprises to join the apparatus.

For many decades, high ranking officials of the ministry and the general department have been prepared for retirement by being sent to national sports federations “to continue contributing to the country.”

These cases are countless.

Dozens of leaders of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), such as chairmen, deputy chairmen and general secretaries, have ‘descended’ from these government bodies.

VFF deputy chairman Tran Quoc Tuan is the head of a body under the General Department of Sports and Physical Training.

VFF chairman Nguyen Trong Hy was the deputy minister of the sports ministry during 2005-09.

Tran Chien Thang, former deputy sports minister, is the chairman of the Vietnam Gymnastics Federation.

Nguyen Danh Thai, former deputy sports minister, landed at the Vietnam Tennis Federation (VTF) months before his retirement. Thai was appointed to the post at the VTF for the 2010-15 term when he retired in 2010.

General secretaries of the national federations of volleyball, gymnastics, boating, shooting and aquatic sports are all staff at the above governmental bodies.

Pham Duc Thanh, general secretary of the Vietnam Table Tennis Federation (VTTF), is the former deputy chief of a body under the general department.

He now holds the post at the VTTF for the 2012-17 term, his third consecutive five-year term at the agency.

Now, the VTTF has no money to organize domestic tournaments and has trained no young players.