Weaknesses in the management system of the tennis center “Lielupe” in the Ministry of Education and Science and in the tennis center itself establishes risk that after completion of the reconstruction, internationally compliant courts will be half empty and the tennis center will not be able to cover all maintenance costs.
Both the ministry and the tennis center “Lielupe” will have a lot of duties this year to make sure that the new courts are loaded with new tennis players, sports organizations and other interested parties.
“We can be proud of the achievements of Latvian professional tennis players at global level. A tennis base that meets international standards would allow a new generation of tennis players to grow and make this sport more accessible to everyone. Therefore, as we approach the end of the reconstruction of the tennis center, it is the last moment for both the Ministry of Education and Science and the tennis center to determine exactly what benefits it will bring to society,” explains Auditor General Elita Krūmiņa.
More than ten years have passed since the decision on the reconstruction of the tennis center “Lielupe” under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science, and the project will invest almost EUR 11 million. From the year 2007 to 2016, the Ministry of Education and Science has not ensured effective preparation and management of the reconstruction project. As a result, more than EUR 700 000 have been spent wrongly, for example, by repairing a boiler house for demolition.
The audit concluded that the Ministry of Education and Science should rethink the management system of the tennis center “Lielupe”. By changing the scope of the reconstruction, project has lacked a clear vision of how to fully load the tennis center. While maintaining state participation in the tennis center “Lielupe”, the Ministry is committed to set up strategic goals for its activities, so that the tennis center achieves societal results, such as the development of high-performance sports, children’s and youth sports, popular sports and adapted sports. In turn, the tennis center itself must develop and approve a medium-term development strategy in the ministry.
In order to ensure that after the reconstruction the load of the courts and the revenue necessary for covering the expenses will be at least half a million Euros a year, the tennis center “Lielupe” has to carry out preparatory work for the Latvian Tennis Federation and other sports event organizers to be interested in organizing both local and international competitions in the tennis center “Lielupe” and so the tennis enthusiasts would choose this tennis center for their daily activities, taking care of their health and development.
A high level of success in sports development requires targeted, extensive work already from the early age. With the implementation of the State Audit Office recommendations, the Ministry of Education and Science should establish cooperation with educational institutions during this year to promote the development of children’s and youth sports in the newly reconstructed tennis center “Lielupe”.