The head coach of the national short track speed skating team has reacted strongly against rumors of overspending by accusing team manager Wang Chunlu of dominating all the team’s financial matters.
“Wang last year accepted a 5 million yuan ($778,967) sponsorship deal and took three cars on behalf of the speed skating team,” Li Yan told the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily.
“The cars were supposed to be given to the team manager, head coach and Wang Meng. But so far no one has received any sponsorship.”
She also said the team has no organized or professional reimbursement system.
Wang has final say over all money matters in the skating team, Li claimed, as she has the highest administrative rank.
“I have not signed any documents concerning reimbursement,” she said. “I have no idea about what I was supposed to do or not do.”
Li urged the Winter Sports Administrative Center to publish complete financial records of the team, “for the sake of what Wang and I have said.”
The Dalian-based Peninsula Morning Post quoted a text reply from Wang as saying externally-hired coaches like Li are not supposed to sign any reimbursement documents.
“The team does not have a bookkeeper but the center has a financial unit,” Wang said. “Reports are submitted according to the internal system.”
The center would investigate the matter, center deputy director Lan Li told the Southern Metropolis Daily.
“Currently there is only one staff member in charge of financial matters at the administrative center,” he said.
“Each team has its own budget. Although team managers are the executors of the budget, they are not supposed to be dealing with money matters directly.”
Different national teams have different sets of rules on sponsorship or other money-related matters, Wang Dazhao, a sports commentator at People’s Daily, told the Global Times Wednesday.
“They are meant for internal use only, so the center is not required to disclose its rules publicly,” he said.
The scandal is only an individual incident, he said, and should not be projected as a bureaucratic failure.
“There are problems within the current system, but it should not be magnified.”
A series of scandals involving Wang Meng, Wang Chunlu and Li Yan have made headlines after Wang Meng was expelled from the national speed skating team last Thursday for brawling with her manager.
Wang then threatened to disclose team secrets involving steroid abuse.
Center director Zhao Yinggang confirmed that Wang will not now do that, the Guangzhou Daily reported.
The China Anti-Doping Agency has started investigating whether Wang is involved in drug abuse, the Jilin-based City Evening News reported.