High level sport is undoubtedly a modern-day phenomenon, drawing billions of spectators every year into sports venues as well as through the media and especially in recent years , on social networks.
Because of this, many athletes now have to become professional sportsmen and women. This means that they have to dedicate themselves exclusively to sport and receive some kind of funding. This funding, which allows the athlete to become professional, comes in most cases from two sources- grants and sponsorships.
However, in Spain this poses a few problems. In the first place, the level of sport, both nationally and internationally has grown steadily over the years, which means that the struggle to maintain a high level of results is becoming increasingly difficult. Great results are a necessity for both grants and sponsorship. We also face another problem. Becoming a professional means that athletes do not enter the job market until their athletic career ends. This invariably means that many sport people have fewer options when finding a job due to lack of experience in the workplace and often find themselves too old to start out on a new career path. This also poses a problem for their retirement pension. Legislation in Spanish social security contributions mean that elite athletes do not pay into the system during their athletic career. This clearly shows that our state institutions lag far behind the reality that athletes face in their everyday lives.
So, what can be done to correct this situation? First, by promoting tax benefits to businesses that invest in sports sponsorship. These tax benefits should be applied when a company directly sponsors a sportsman or woman. The help of the private sector is essential for Spanish sport to maintain the high level of excellence that it has shown in recent years.
Another important measure should be to look after our coaches, by introducing legislation which favours the coaches of elite athletes. In many countries, coaches, and even the athletes themselves, often work as state employees, recognising that they are dedicated to representing their countries internationally by achieving excellent results. To look after our coaches is to look after sport, both present and future.
All of this, along with a boost to grassroots sport and school sport (which incidentally is a tremendously useful tool for working on values in the education system, as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle among students, and would help prevent many illnesses due to bad choices in food and lifestyle) are necessary for Spanish sport to continue in its golden age.