Registrato: 08/07/19 10:55
|A student at the sports school of Fuzhou , Fujian Province dives into the pool in the diving hall of Fujian's sports center in July, 2012. Photo: CFP
A group of retired athletes who once represented Beijing on the national stage vowed to take legal action after they were denied retirement payment as they are not official residents of Beijing.
"We all came to Beijing at an early age. Coaches and officials from the Beijing team not only failed to fulfill their promises to get us Beijing household registrations during the past years but also refused to give us our retirement pay now," Yang Kai, a former member of the Beijing swimming team told the Global Times.
Yang said that he and other retired athletes from Team Beijing are working with lawyers to try to settle their problems by applying for legal arbitration.
No prize at the end
Huo Sizhong, a former member of the Beijing diving team told the Global Times that he was asked to retire in 2014 and when he applied for his retirement pay lump sum of about 100,000 yuan ($15,630), he was told that only athletes, who have a Beijing household registration, or hukou, can get the money.
Owing to limited resources, people with Beijing hukou enjoy a range of housing, welfare and education benefits.
"I came to Beijing to join the diving team from Guangdong Province when I was 12 and represented the team at the China National Games in 2009 and 2012. How could I not get my payment after serving the team for more than 10 years?" Huo said.
According to a document on improving social security services for athletes issued by the General Office of the State Council in March 2013, athletes can claim retirement pay when they leave their team.
Several athletes told the Global Times that Beijing is the only region that has denied athletes their retirement pay on the basis of their hukou.
The hukou problem facing athletes from other provinces may have its roots in the way athletes are cultivated in China, Zhao Jisheng, a professor with the College of Physical Education and Sports at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.
Every region and province treats the quadrennial National Games as an important platform to show their prowess and in order to get better scores, provincial and regional teams try to find excellent athletes from all over the country, according to Zhao.
Four sports schools in Beijing are the training bases for the local team and they take students from all over China.
Huo said that after getting into a training base, he signed a contract without being given any time to read it.
"The coach said there was no need to read it because the only thing I needed to do is to concentrate on training to improve my performance and then I could get hukou and better payment," said Huo.
Several athletes confirmed to the Global Times that all of them signed contracts but in most cases the coach took the contracts away from them as soon as they signed.
"Athletes from other regions who performed well in national games could get Beijing hukou, while others are still waiting," said Huo, adding that he once won a bronze medal in a national diving championship but still failed to get Beijing hukou.
Feng Zhenzhen, a former member of the Beijing rowing team said that athletes in the team only get a chance to "join the queue for a Beijing hukou if they rank in the top 3 in national games."
"The quota for hukou has shrunk while more people in the Beijing team are applying for it," Feng said.
Yang said that the quota has led to athletes that have won medals and achieved high rank not getting a hukou.
"It is the responsibility of the authorities who enrolled these athletes to fix the problem," said Zhao.
An anonymous official from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports told the Global Times that they are aware of the issue and are discussing it with the Generation Administration of Sport.
"We are counting the number of the people who have the same problem in the four training bases. It will take time to tackle the retirement pay issue [as various] departments might be involved," said the official.
Han Shichun, a lawyer from the Yixian Law Firm said that he has seen copies of the contracts athletes signed.
He noted that the athletes were promised retirement payment in their contracts but no mention was made of them requiring hukou, adding that they could apply for legal arbitration with the sports school first as the contracts clearly state their payment and retirement pay.
"We got almost nothing but injuries after serving the team. Now we just want our retirement pay," said Yang.
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