Brussels, 21 February 2011
Sport leaders and ministers discuss Commission's strategy for sport
EU Sport Forum: The European Commission's new strategy for sport will be the focus of a two-day meeting of representatives of national, European and international sport organisations in Budapest, Hungary, on 21-22 February. Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will present her plans on the second day of the forum, which will bring together 250 delegates including leading figures from the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, European Professional Football Leagues, European Club Association and European Elite Athletes Association. The European Commission's new strategy will also be the focus of an informal meeting of EU Sport Ministers, which takes place the following day in Gödöllő.
"I am committed to strengthening the European dimension in sport. Our discussions in Budapest and Gödöllő will help the Commission, Member States and sport stakeholders to identify priorities and agree on joint actions on the basis of the Commission's proposals," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
The Commission's plans, which were outlined in a communication adopted on 18 January (IP/11/43), aim to strengthen the societal, economic and organisational dimensions of sport. Action is foreseen in areas where challenges cannot be sufficiently dealt with at national level alone. The Commission wants, for example, to step up its involvement in the fight against doping, to encourage a fairer distribution of sport revenues to the grassroots and to address concerns about the way transfers are conducted in professional sport.
The Sport Forum – the third to be organised by the Commission – will also provide an opportunity to showcase recent EU-funded projects aimed at social inclusion of immigrants, access to sport for the disabled, gender equality, the fight against doping, physical activity, and volunteering in sport. In 2009-2010, the Commission provided more than €6 million to support almost 30 sport projects.
In the margins of the event, the Commission has teamed up with the European Journalism Centre to organise a three-day seminar programme (21-23 February) for sports journalists from across Europe. It will focus on sport’s role in society, the financing of sport, and threats to open and fair sporting competitions in Europe. The seminar will be moderated by Declan Hill, author of ‘The Fix: Soccer & Organized Crime’, and include contributions from Anglo-Dutch author-anthropologist Simon Kuper and Ramon Alfonseda, the former FC Barcelona striker and President of the Sports Group of European Former Football Players Associations.
The informal meeting of EU sport ministers in Gödöllő on 23 February will discuss the Commission's communication and also have a first exchange of views on possible future EU-level financing for sport projects. Other topics on the agenda include the EU's role in the international fight against doping and sport for senior citizens.
The Commission's sport proposals, contained in a paper entitled "Developing the European Dimension in Sport", has been transmitted to the Council and the European Parliament to identify their priorities. In May, the Commission is due to launch a call for proposals for EU funding in support of anti-discrimination projects. In 2012 it will organise a conference on the activities of sport agents (a follow-up to a 2009 study on this theme) and a study on transfers in professional sport.
To find out more:
Sport website: http://ec.europa.eu/sport/index_en.htm
Hungarian Presidency: http://www.eu2011.hu