Brussels/Vilnius, 30 September 2013
EU Sport Forum: Olympic gold medallist puts spotlight on 'dual careers'
It's easy to imagine that success in sport is a ticket to mega-earnings and a lifetime of luxury. It might be for an elite few, but for most sportspeople the reality is very different. When their sports career is over, they need to find a 'normal' job. For some that's not easy because they put all their energies into sport and dropped the education baton. 'Dual careers' for sportspeople, which aim to combine sports training with education, will be one of the main themes addressed at the 2013 EU Sport Forum, which takes place in Vilnius on 30 September-1 October. Basketball legend and Olympic gold-medallist Šarūnas Marčiulioniss will join Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for sport, in a high-level panel debate on dual careers on the second day of the Forum.
Other issues under discussion will include Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, football transfer fees, and the Commission's new 'HEPA' initiative aimed at getting people to exercise more and enjoy the benefits of health-enhancing physical activity. For the first time, the Forum will feature a Twitter 'wall' (hashtag: #EUsportforum), which will allow Forum participants and sports fans to provide instant feedback and comments.
The Forum coincides with an Informal Meeting of Sport Ministers, which Commissioner Vassiliou will also attend. The main focus of the Informal is the planning and legacy of major sport events and the contribution of sport to the economy.
Commissioner Vassiliou commented: "I am very pleased that the EU Sport Forum will raise awareness of the importance of 'dual careers' for sports-people. For every sporting 'god' like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal or Usain Bolt, there are thousands of athletes who face a tough time in adjusting after their sport career is over unless they have also trained for life off the field. I am also looking forward to highlighting our new Erasmus+ programme, which will include a dedicated budget for grassroots sport for the first time, as well as providing funding for transnational campaigns aimed at combating sport-related violence, intolerance and gender inequality."
It is envisaged that Erasmus+ will allocate more than €33 million a year for grassroots sport between 2014 and 2020. It will support transnational projects aimed at boosting the exchange of know-how and good practices, special non-commercial European sport events and a strengthened evidence-base for sport policy-making. The main beneficiaries will be public bodies and civil society organisations active in grassroots sport. Since 2007, the Commission has provided more than €22 million in support of sport projects.
The Council and the European Parliament are expected to adopt Erasmus+ in the coming weeks. The Recommendation on Health-Enhancing Physical Activity proposed by the Commission could be adopted by the Council before the end of the year.
Representatives of Europe's sport movement and Member States meet at the EU Sport Forum. The Forum, which is held annually, is an opportunity for the Commission to inform sport stakeholders about its policy initiatives and to listen to their views. It brings together 250 delegates, including leading representatives from the international and European Olympic Committees, European federations, sport for all organisations, and organisations of leagues, clubs and athletes.
The Sport Forum also showcases EU-funded projects implemented during the past two years, aimed at supporting the fight against violence and intolerance in sport, social inclusion of immigrants, the promotion of good governance in sport, the fight against match-fixing, the promotion of physical activity supporting active ageing, awareness-raising about effective ways of promoting sport at municipal level and trans-frontier joint grassroots sport competitions in neighbouring regions and Member States.
Sport is an essential part of the lives of millions of European citizens. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, the EU acquired a competence in the field of sport. Article 165 TFEU states that the EU should support, coordinate and supplement sport policy actions by EU Member States. It also calls on the EU to contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function, and to develop the European dimension in sport.
For more information
European Commission: sport website
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU