The Bulgarian Association for Recreation, Integration and Sports (BARIS) was established in the fall of 2009, after the electoral victory of the center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). As is evident from its portfolio, it has way too noble purposes and a corresponding family tree – its co-founder is Mihail Glavchev, son of the MP from GERB Dimitar Glavchev. Former sambo competitor Rumen Stoilov, who later became MP from GERB and left BARIS, is known as “the richest lawmaker”, according to his own property declaration.
A year later, on November 11, 2010, the Council of Ministers recognized BARIS as Nationally Representative Association. According to sources of Bivol, the candidacy of BARIS received special care both from Mihail Glavchev’s dad and Rumyana Bachvarova, then Head of Staff of GERB leader and Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov. The representative status is valid for three years and entitles the Association to a subsidy from the State budget.
To obtain the coveted status, BARIS submitted to the Council of Ministers a “certificate of membership in the International Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), dated March 25, 2010”. CRISPA confirmed that BARIS is listed as one of their members, but it turned out that the Association has paid membership fees only twice – in 2010 and in 2013.
Moreover, according to the Administrator of the Association Alice Holland, CPISRA does not issue “certificates of membership“, but sends upon request letters of good standing after they receive the membership fees. However, since 2010, such a letter has not been sent to Bulgaria.
Membership fees – only when we need to be recognized
The years 2010 and 2013, when membership fees were paid, correspond to the years when BARIS was given and has renewed the status of nationally representative organization. Glavchev’s Association did not pay for the other years, but in official documents and requests for funding from the budget, it is boldly highlighted that BARIS has “certificate of membership” in CPISRA.
Asked to provide the said certificate from March 25, 2010, the President of BARIS, Petar Savov, sent a document of a bank transfer in foreign currency for the membership fee, dated May 3, 2010, thus it appears that a certificate dated March 25, 2010, could not exist, at least officially.
The next renewal of the representative status is due in 2016, and then again CPISRA will probably receive from BARIS a transfer for the fee. This fee amounts to about 750 US dollars a year. This sum is not that much, considering BARIS’ finances. For 2010 and 2011, it has received 20,000 levs, for 2012 the State subsidy was 45,000 levs, and in the same year BARIS also won European financing for the project “Life Is Movement” under the Operational Programme “Development of Human Resources” worth 323,826 levs, of which 292,556 levs have already been paid.
“Ever since its establishment, BARIS has been against NGO funding through subsidies granted under vague criteria.”
This was stated by BARIS President Petar Savov, contacted by Bivol with the question if he saw a conflict of interest in the fact that the son of a well-known MP is a member of the Association. “Despite the detailed project with relevant justification, we received a subsidy of 45,000 levs for a bid worth 139,500 levs, thanks to our relations with the government,” was his sarcastic answer.
Bivol also inquired about the recreational activities on whose grounds BARIS has been registered as a national member of CPISRA on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria. These should involve organizing national championships for athletes with disabilities in the following sports: bocce, football for 7, race runner, snowboard and wheelchair rugby. According to Petar Savov, such competitions have not been organized to date.
However, BARIS has promoted another type of recreation, not exactly for athletes. It was a road rally championship for people with disabilities, organized jointly with the Bulgarian Federation of Automobile Sports, as Savov explained. There is even a planned Balkan championship, if funding permits.
Mihail Glavchev was not available for comment, while MP Dimitar Glavchev, who is also Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, completely ignored the questions that Bivol sent to his official mail.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian