Ten-person limit a nuisance for team sports clubs

Sõle sports center.
Sõle sports center. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government's decision to allow no more than groups of ten to participate in hobby activities at a time has put Tallinn's team sports clubs in a difficult situation. Sports clubs would like to suspend their contracts with city-owned gyms but Tallinn is not keen to do so yet.

There are 14 players on a court for handball, 12 for volleyball, but according to the government's decision on Tuesday, training groups cannot have more than ten people participating at a time. This puts the capital city's amateur ball clubs in a difficult situation as gym rent and coach wages are now in question, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

Rainer Rätsep, head coach of volleyball club Kramp, said this is a big problem for them. "We have groups of 20 and now we must choose who can participate in trainings and who cannot, not to mention the topic of why people should pay if they cannot take part," Rätsep said.

If the ten-person limit were to last until the end of the year, the club could get by financially but if it were to stay in force for months, financial difficulties could come up. The club would like to suspend their contracts with schools, as it was made possible during the emergency situation in spring.

Jaan Milvek, financial director of Ehte High School, noted that the school cannot make the decision as it has to be in accordance with the current price determiner. "Our price has been determined by Tallinn's Education Department," Milvek said.

Adults have to pay €75 for an hour and a half of gym rental at the Sõle sports center in north Tallinn. Margus Jurkatam, head of Sõle sports center and five more gyms around Tallinn, says a third of their adult training groups have approached about suspending their contracts.

"Mainly, the topic is sports clubs that use the sports gym, the restriction does not affect football halls or swimming clubs," Jurkatam told "Aktuaalne kaamera".

The sports center manager does not have the right to lower prices or suspend contracts, as that can only be done by Tallinn's Sports Department. Tallinn Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu (Center) says the city has not gotten to the topic yet but there should be no hope of a quick fix.

Riisalu said city government cannot make quick decisions similar to how a traditional company can. The topic must first reach cabinet tables. "The processing is not a question of a day or two. The processing could take up to two months," Riisalu explained.

At the same time, Riisalu said, it is not yet clear if contracts should be amended at all as the restrictions might not last for too long. Currently, the ten-person hobby activity limit does not affect Estonian championships or teams competing in high-level competitions.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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