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2020.05.05 10:00

Lithuanian football body says government support essential for sport to survive

Football requires support from the government in order to survive the coronavirus crisis, according to the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF).

“I very much hope that the government will give a helping hand to all sports in general, including football, since football clubs, competitions are in a strong need of [government] grants and money,” Edgaras Stankevičius, the secretary general of the LFF, told BNS last week.

Football needs financial support as well as a tax holiday, he said.

Early in April, the federation asked for the government’s help in mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s football clubs and top leagues.

Kornelija Tiesnesytė, a vice-minister of education, science and sport, told BNS that the Ministry of Finance was looking at the request filed by the LFF.

According to the ministry, the federation asked, among other things, to set up a rescue fund for Lithuania’s football that would provide support to athletes without any income due to the lockdown, to grant state guarantee for loans issued by banks to public institutions, associations and other organisations engaged in football.

All sporting competitions have been suspended since March 16 when Lithuania called a nationwide quarantine to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Football matches in Lithuania are expected to resume three weeks after the quarantine is completely lifted. The measure is now in place until May 11, but is likely to be extended for another two weeks.