Recent evaluations bashed for being unfair

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Recent evaluations bashed for being unfair

The Korean government has come under fire for positive evaluations of two local sports federations because it skipped over some of these bodies’ recent transgressions.

The Korea Volleyball Association and the Korea Wrestling Federation each scored high marks in a recent evaluation by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and have received extra grants for training, according to sources.

The volleyball association was recognized for its ethical management and good financial standing, and the wrestling body was praised for its ethical practice, too.

But critics pointed out Wednesday that both agencies were recently involved in scandals that should have resulted in lower scores.

In September 2009, Park Chul-woo, a member of the men’s national volleyball team, accused his coach, Lee Sang-yeol, of physically abusing him after a practice while his teammates watched. Park claimed he had been hit in the face and abdomen and had suffered concussion symptoms. Lee was suspended indefinitely and a senior federation official handling the men’s national team resigned in the aftermath.

In November 2009, a national team wrestling coach was booked without detention for embezzling training funds. Eight other coaches from badminton and artistic and rhythmic gymnastics were also accused of misappropriating state training grants for personal use.

“I heard [the volleyball and wrestling federations] scored high points across the board,” said an official at one sports federation. “But it’s difficult to accept that they were recognized for ethics after they disgraced all of athletics.”

The ministry commissioned the state-run Korea Institute of Sport Science and a local accounting firm to evaluate 55 sports-federation members of the Korean Olympic Committee. The categories included leadership, ethical practice and financial management.

The accounting firm handled the financial evaluation, while the institute studied leadership and ethics based on the relevant sports bodies’ self-assessments.

An official at the sport science institute said the results of the assessment were reached in a fair and objective manner, adding that the purpose of the evaluation is to help sports-governing bodies shape up and rid themselves of corruption and other illicit practices.

“I was opposed to the idea that we should exclude federations that have had problems recently,” the official said. “In order to make these bodies change, we have to stick to the results as they are.”

The official acknowledged that there are “clear limitations” to the current evaluation process and that some agencies prepare their self-assessment better than others.

“Since these agencies all receive state funding, we must establish a more stable evaluation system to help them change in ways that the people and the society want,” the official said.

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