There is absolutely no empirical evidence that professional sport sponsored by the government is having any benefits in the general population. We're using this model for years in Romania and it's quite exactly the opposite. Let me walk you through the very grim reality. You can find the entire report over here
and the data for the entire EU over here
- 4th worse average life expectancy at birth in the EU, almost 6 years under the EU average;
- 2nd worse average life expectancy at age 65;
- highest death rate from acute cardio-vascular disease;
- 2nd highest death rate from cerebro-vascular disease;
- taken together, cardio-vascular and cerebro-vascular disease are the cause of more than half of deaths among Romanians, 2nd largest rate in EU and 3 times larger than the average EU rate!
- in 2015, 1/6 Romanians lived with hypertension, 1/20 lived with diabetes and 1/25 with asthma or chronic respiratory disease!
- the incidence of the respiratory conditions grows 4x for people with lower education levels;
- main determinants of various dissability conditions are musculoskeletal problems (including neck and back pain!) and poor mental health!
Main causes? Quoting from the same report: "More than 40% of the overall burden of disease in Romania in 2015 (measured in terms of DALYs) could be attributed to behavioural risk factors, including smoking and alcohol use, as well as dietary risks and low physical activity.
But yes, I guess paying public money for players coming to stay here 1-2 years to attempt to win a piece of metal is more important. Btw, do you think they give a crap when you sing "Romania! Romania!" during the F4. Or are the supporters actually cheering for the public money that made that possible? At least that would be more sincere.
So yes! We really have to make up our mind? Do we want to die young, but "proud to be Romanians" and "winners of the metal crap" or do we want to educate people on how to live a healthy and balanced life, such that we lower those numbers down and take away from the burden on the medical and social system.
Do we want to invest public money in accessible infrastructure, such that everyone can practice sports throughout their lives, or do we keep investing in sports TV for our couch and computer-sports specialists? Do we want an active healthy population (which in the long run is the basis for an organised and effective professional sport that can yield international performances) or do we want instant success and then bankruptcy? Because for now, the only things at which we excel seem to be high densities of betting houses, bank offices and pharmacies!