San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Women’s Volleyball Team Struggles to Net Funds

The Costa Rican Women’s National Volleyball Team sailed passed Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the world championship in August.

But, due to a lack of funds, they’re not sure they can go.

The team of 12 women is waiting for the Costa Rican Institute for Sports and Recreation (ICODER) to determine whether they can fly to Japan in October 2010.

“We are launching a great effort,” said William Corrales, president of the Costa Rican Federation for Volleyball. “It’s a great honor. We have some of the best players in the world and it would be a shame if we couldn’t go.”

This is the second time Costa Rica has qualified for the championship. While they mustered enough money to go the first time, the financial crunch and the recent economic slowdown threatens next year’s proposed trip.

For Osvaldo Pandolfo, vice minister of sports, finding money for international competitions is a chronic problem.

“There is never enough money,” he told The Tico Times. “It’s one of the struggles we’ve always had.”

ICODER supports 32 sports federations in Costa Rica and hasn’t received more than $500,000 from the government to support them.

He said individual competitors are the ones who most often miss out because they can’t find the money to compete.

Soccer is a different story.

Through ticket sales and private funds, national soccer teams are self-sustaining and can usually be jetted to faraway countries for international competitions.

“Soccer sells here,” Pandolfo said. “It’s backed by a nationwide passion, so they’ve been able to facilitate financing.”

Pandolfo said passage of a bill in the Legislative Assembly – aimed at increasing government allocations and creating a sports ministry – would help overcome the perpetual shortage of funds.

“We are fighting for more resources,” he said. “Not just for international competition, but also for recreation.”

–Chrissie Long


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