On April 23, a meeting of the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee (LNOC) Executive Committee took place. For the first time in almost 8 years, the LNOC President Daina Gudzinevičiūtė chaired the meeting from her office, as the meeting was held online. The Olympic champion told the “Olympic Panorama” about the main topic of the meeting, the organization’s finances, and the present saving mode.
– Lately, finances have been the most urgent topic. Everyone is counting money – leagues, clubs, and organizations. Do you have any substantial data about the projected and the actual LNOC’s budget for 2020?
– The LNOC’s budget is 95% dependable on sales of “Olifėja” lottery tickets. During the quarantine, the sales have been fluctuating, but so far, the tendencies are quite pessimistic. One week we observed a decline of 20 percent, the other week – even 40 percent. Based on these numbers, our estimated income might shrink by 20-37 percent, which is around 2-3.7 billion euros. Of course, sooner or later the quarantine will end, but we are keeping the worst scenario in mind and preparing for it.
– Which LNOC’s programmes and areas will have to tighten their belts, and which are untouchable?
– The LNOC places greatest priority on athletes, medics, and federations. We are doing everything in our power to keep their grants, subsidies, and salaries intact. The finances of other activities and programmes are being reduced where possible.
– The deficiency is grave. Will you manage to deal with it?
– We will. We have no other choice. After postponing the Olympic Games we redistributed the LNOC’s budget allocation. The funds of preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games were reallocated for financing priority areas. The cancellation of athletes’ training camps allowed to save about 10 percent of the Olympic Sports Directorate’s costs. Also, we have been working hard together with all the directors of the LNOC’s directorates – Olympic Education, International Relations, and Economy – to significantly reduce the expenses. During the period from March to May, a number of large and small projects were canceled, such as the LNOC’s training courses for managers and coaches, Olympic Values Education Programme training course, the finals of the Lithuanian Schools Games, the Lithuanian Children Games festivals, etc. Together we aim at saving from 25 to 30 percent of the finances projected for 2020. At this points these are the decisions. Shall the need arise, we will react accordingly.
– How did the cuts affect the LNOC’s employees?
– When surviving is at stake, everyone is affected. We made a decision to reduce the salaries of all the employees of the LNOC and the Lithuanian Olympic Fund. Currently the cut is 10 percent. We all have families and obligations to third parties, but we also understand that this decision was necessary.
– In June, the Olympic Day festival was set to be held in Vilnius. For the last two years it has enjoyed immense popularity. What is the future of this project?
– This year the Olympic Day will be quite different – everyone will be invited to engage in sports separately. On June 23, probably the first ever virtual version of the festival will be held – every person who runs the Lithuanian Olympic mile (1988 meters) on this day and posts the proof of this accomplishment marked with a special hashtag in social networks will receive the Olympic Day prizes and sponsors souvenirs. There still remains a possibility in autumn to hold the usual Olympic Day festival in Vilnius. However, it is too early to talk about that.
– The most loyal “Olympic Panorama” readers will also be forced to change their habits. How?
– It might happen so that this will the last physical issue of the magazine. Starting next month, the magazine will be published in digital format only. This issue, together with all the previous issues, can be found on the website LTOK.LT. We are sorry for this inconvenience, but it is just another consequence of the financial diet.