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Sports Veterans Ambassadors to be appointed

The Ministry of Sports has announced the establishment of a roster of national veteran ambassadors for sports.

20 February 2024, MVT 15:44
Veterans ambassador announcing ceremony
20 February 2024, MVT 15:44

The Ministry of Sports has announced the establishment of a roster of national veteran ambassadors for sports.

The creation of this list of veteran ambassadors for national sports fulfills a commitment made by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu within the first 14 weeks of the government.

During a press conference at Henveiru Bolhage, Sports Minister Abdulla Rafiu stated that former athletes who have contributed to sports in the Maldives and those with experience in sports management can register through the Sports Ministry's 'MEES portal' to be considered for inclusion in the roster of Sports Veterans Ambassadors.

The minister emphasized that the appointment of a veteran ambassador would only occur after careful vetting and approval by a special board.

Rafiu highlighted that national-level athletes invest a significant amount of time in sports training and various opportunities from a young age to bring fame to the country. However, he lamented that once their professional careers are over, there is currently little the country can offer to support these athletes.

"When athletes dedicate themselves to winning medals for the country and subsequently return to the broader society after concluding their careers, the fundamental question arises: what can the country do for them next?" remarked Rafiu.

He emphasized that the nation's sports veterans encompass individuals who made personal sacrifices, including those who forwent their own businesses and invested in sports clubs.

Rafiu highlighted that, in previous years, some of the most dedicated sports service providers had even sold their own properties and invested substantial funds in their respective clubs.

"All these expenditures were made with a genuine commitment to the sport, and we must recognize and appreciate their efforts," Rafiu commented.

To address this, he explained that the initial step taken was to request the National Sports Council to establish criteria for compiling a list of National Sports Veterans Ambassadors. These criteria have already been formulated and approved by the Sports Council in alignment with the President's Office policy.

The ministry, in consultation with the Sports Council, has finalized the criteria for becoming a sports ambassador. The main criteria for becoming a veterans ambassador are having spent at least 10 years playing competitively and having completed 40 years of age. It also means being a national or international achiever in sports. Not having been taken legal action against and not having taken action by an international sports body are some of the prerequisites.

Roles and responsibilities

Upon assuming the role of a sports veterans ambassador, individuals are entrusted with specific responsibilities. Primary duties include dedicating time to serve the sport based on acquired experiences and skills in the field, ensuring fair practices without leaving anyone marginalized, and advocating for the protection of human rights. Sports ambassadors are also expected to contribute technical expertise in the formulation of sports policies.

In tandem with their responsibilities, sports ambassadors are entitled to various benefits.

Minister Rafiu highlighted that this includes health insurance services and financial assistance from financial institutions.

The provision of health insurance aligns with the sports medical health insurance policy designated for national-level athletes.

Minister Rafiu affirmed that discussions with several insurance service providers have already taken place in this regard.

Benefits for Veterans Ambassadors:

Individuals may engage as sports veterans ambassadors in both national and international sports events.

All costs associated with participation in these events will be covered.

Recognition or a badge will be bestowed as a veterans ambassador, granting the privilege to display it at various sports-related occasions.

Support will be extended to secure financial aid from financial institutions.

Access to insurance services through Sports Medical Insurance will be facilitated.

"I believe it's crucial because, towards the end of our lives, we often face illnesses that were not present before. If you need medication for a condition that hasn't occurred before (such an illness), there's no alternative outside Aasandha. It becomes challenging," remarked Rafiu, formerly a sports physician, emphasizing the significance of offering medical insurance to sports veterans ambassadors.

"I consider it essential to provide medical insurance to acknowledge their service."

The ministry plans to publish the requirements for becoming a sports ambassador in the gazette.