Bulgarian Sports Minister Told to Supply Information

9 November 2012

The Bulgarian sports ministry has been ordered to provide information about its contracts with the Bulgarian Ski Federation, and another sport-related transparency case is pending, according to information from the Access to Information Programme.

The Ministry of Physical Education and Sports was instructed to provide information on all its contracts (their objects, prices, documents on their implementation, etc.) with the Bulgarian Ski Federation for the period between Jan. 1, 2007, and May 5, 2011, – more than four years (Decision no. 13492 of 29 October 2012 on administrative case no. 15594/2011 of the SAC, Fifth Division, judge-rapporteur Andrei Ikonomov – in Bulgarian).

The request was filed by the Balkani Wildlife Society on May 5, 2011. The Ministry refused access on the grounds that the Bulgarian Ski Federation was a third party whose protected interests were involved and the Federation had expressly refused provision of the documents (art. 37, Para. 1, item 2 of the APIA). The requester filed a complaint which was rejected on first instance by the Administrative court – Sofia city, according to an AIP description.

“Nevertheless, with the support of AIP and representation by AIP’s attorney-at-law Kiril Terziiski, the Supreme Administrative Court reversed the first instance decision,” AIP reported,

The Oct. 29 decision adopting the complainant’s arguments, ruled that information on the Ministry’s contracts fell under the presumption of overriding public interest of disclosure (§ 1, item 5, letter “?” of the Additional Provision of the APIA).  “In that case the Ministry had to prove the need of protection of the third party’s interests,” AIP said. “It had failed to do so. Consequently, the information must be provided even without the third party’s consent.”

“Moreover, the SAC used its full competence under art. 41, Para. 1 of the APIA and instructed the Ministry of Physical Education and Sports to grant the request for access to public information. This solution is to be applauded because it prevents the administration from any further delaying of the disclosure,” the AIP commented. For more info click here.

Another Sport Case Pending

AIP is also supporting another case concerning the sports ministry in which the chairman of the Bulgarian Sport Shooting Federation is seeking information on the precise manner of calculating and distributing of funds by the sports ministry for the Olympics preparation in 2011 and 2012. The Federation did not receive funds to back Bulgarians competing in the Olympics.

A decision is pending.

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