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Amateur sport in Russia becoming privilege of rich

October 08, 2013, 11:14 UTC+3

Amateur sports for adults are poorly developed in the country and mostly rely on enthusiasts

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Representatives of the best amateur regional leagues and federations of basketball on Monday signed a Declaration on Developing Amateur Basketball in Russia, expressing concern over a shortage of basketball courts.

People who go in for other sports have problems with training centers too, the newspaper Novye Izvestia writes.

Stadiums and sport centers built with budget money set such high lease prices that many amateur athletes have to pay 1,000 rubles or more per one training session. However, even those who are ready to pay that much, have to train at night, because in daytime, the stadiums and skating rinks are reserved for professionals, children from Olympic Reserve Schools and officials who made sports one of their privileges.

Amateur sports for adults are poorly developed in the country and mostly rely on enthusiasts, experts say. In the first place, it is very expensive, and in the second, it is difficult to find training grounds. There are not enough sport centers, skating rinks, playing fields and gymnasiums for all.

In Moscow, you have to pay 6,000 rubles ($200) a month for playing hockey twice a week at around 23:00 to 24:00. The available timeslot around midnight is confirmed on the websites of ice palaces.

Compared with Canada and Scandinavian countries, the amount of "amateur ice" in this country, even in Moscow, is hundreds of times less. The overall number of amateur hockey teams in the capital is about 300, so the demand by far exceeds the supply, and the prices for leasing staking rinks are unjustifiably high and do not correspond to the level of expenses and services provided.

Hockey is not the only costly sport. Playing volleyball or basketball can be nearly as expensive, with a dire shortage of decent gymnasiums at decent prices. A majority of gyms are leased from 4,000 rubles ($120) per hour. An overwhelming majority of gyms belongs to the state.

Amateur football players cannot find playing fields either, with a high demand for sport grounds and high rent payments.

In the United States, millions of people engage in all kinds of sports activities. Sport grounds are normally located in parks. They play basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey, tennis and football there. Indoor swimming pools are available to amateurs in any weather. Visiting sport grounds and stadiums at the time when professionals do not compete there is free of charge for amateur athletes and amateur teams playing volleyball, basketball, hockey, etc. 

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