with videoThe departure of Sports Minister Connie Helder from the World Cup in Qatar led to discontent and unease in the House of Representatives late on Monday. While she was answering questions about the Thielf Ice Course, the Minister pointed out that she still had four minutes left, otherwise her plane would leave too late.
At the time, the House of Representatives was already working on a six-hour sports budget and had yet to start its second term. SP, PvdA and PVV insisted that Helder end the debate, especially since the House of Representatives does not support a World Cup visit at all. Socialist MP Michiel van Nispen threatened that “if the minister leaves this debate now, I don’t want her to come back”. Then we want a real minister of sports.
He thought the debate was too important “just to get away”. Hence also for the reason that the majority of the House of Representatives rejected it. What does the minister do: She is going to Qatar. And of all things, she’s also getting out of this debate.”
The deputy of the VVD, MP Rudmer Heerema, spoke on behalf of the minister, because discussions are often suspended due to lack of time. However, he also felt “very upset” about the way things were going. The head of the CDA, Inge Van Dijk, also felt “uneasy”, but according to her, it is important to finish the consultation properly, so that later.
There is no additional support for sports clubs
During the sports budget debate, the focus was mainly on additional financial support for sports clubs that were at risk of getting into trouble due to high energy prices. The House wants the minister to commit more money than the “minimal” 6 million now pledged to the emergency fund, but Minister Helder said he does not yet see a sufficient need for that.
MPs also expressed serious concern about the continued existence of the Thialf ice stadium in Heerenveen. According to Thielf, energy costs are still a possibility, but will more than double from January 1. This would create a budget deficit of over €1 million. Helder said she would do everything she could to keep the ice field open, but she couldn’t promise a blank check.
The debate continues on Thursday.
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