Newly crowned Czech league champions, Slavia Prague, will not be seeded in the third and possibly fourth pre-qualifying round of the UEFA Campions League and could therefore face tough opposition such as Scottish league winners Celtic Glasgow, Greek champions Olympiakos Pireus, or Polish club Legia Warsaw. Slavia return to the top European competition after seven years. They clinched the title on the last day of the season with a convincing win against Brno. The draw for the third round takes place on July 14.
Representatives of government, the unions, and business failed to agree at a meeting Monday on how much minimum wages should increase this year. They agreed however that a new framework for working out the regular increases should be established. Unions have suggested that the increase should be 1500 crowns with the bosses favouring 800 crowns. The Ministry of Labour has suggested a 1200 crown increase. The rise should be finalised this year before lower house elections scheduled for October. The basic guideline is that the minimum wage should be at least two-fifths of the average wage.
In football, Sparta Prague has signed Serbian attacking midfielder Vakadin Vukadinovic from fellow top league club Zlín. The 26-year-old has signed a three year contract. He was reportedly sought out by league winners Slavia Prague as well. Vukadinovic helped Zlín win the Czech cup competition and qualify for next season’s Europa League. Sparta ended a disappointing third in the league this season.
Czech minister of industry Jiří Havlíček begins Monday a two-day working trip to Moscow at the hed of a 20-strong business delegation. The main focus of the trip will be a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Denis Manturov. A meeting of the regular committee for Czech economic, industrial, and technology cooperation will also take place.
Top men’s tennis player Tomaš Berdych remains at 14th place on the ATP rankings in spite of playing in his first singles final of the year over the weekend at Lyon, France. Berdych lost in straight sets to local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6:7, 5:7, in the final of what is regarded as a warm up for the French Open.
Spending watchdog the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) says in a report that the Ministry of Education distributed money to sport in a non-transparent and ad hoc manner between 2013 and 2015. The report issued on Monday said that a points system of awarding funds was dropped between 2013 and 2014 when it suited the ministry. Guidelines for co-financing also varied widely without any clear reason. The current outgoing minister, Kateřina Valachová, said that the problems stemmed from previous ministers and that she had to carry out a series of audits when she took over the post. Sports funding from the ministry is currently the focus of a scandal with the head of the Czech football association and a former deputy minister at the education ministry among the main suspects.
The Czech Republic will step up its engagement in the fight against international terrorism, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told Czech Television. He said that in the summer the Czech Republic would send 15 officers to Bagdad, Iraq to help with training of the local police force and that the number of Czech soldiers in Iraq was likely to increase by 150. At present the Czech military has 47 soldiers in the country. NATO agreed to take a more active role in the fight against IS at a summit in Brussels last week. NATO countries do not want the alliance engaged in active combat against Islamic State militants, even though all are individual members of the anti-IS coalition. The role of the alliance could include training local forces and helping to build militaries and institutions.
President Milos Zeman on Sunday met with the minister of education, youth and sports Kateřina Valachová, who announced her resignation after one of her deputies was charged with large-scale corruption. Valachova said the president asked her to reconsider her decision in view of the strong backing she had from teachers and sportspeople. However the minister said she would stand by her decision and expected to leave office at the end of the month as agreed. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has already proposed a replacement.
The Christian Democrats of the ruling coalition debated their policy program at a two day conference in Prague. According to newly reelected party leader Pavel Bělobrádek the party will prioritize education, the social sphere, security and economic growth. On the first day of the conference deputies approved a plan to enter into a coalition with the grouping of Mayors and Independents for the upcoming autumn elections. The fact that the two political entities will be running on a joint ticket means they will need to win more than 10 percent of the vote in the elections. Mr. Bělobrádek said this was a realistic goal.
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