European sport policy
Sports are big in Europe. The EU is keen to promote the health of its citizens, and sees sport as one way to achieve this. However, sport does not rank as its own EU policy area – at least, not yet.
Even so, many agreements have been made over the years, as well as legislation passed and initiatives formulated, to do with sports. Though the EU launched its vision on sports full of optimism, in practice the work of drafting rules and laws that don’t leave anyone by the wayside and don’t pose more problems than solutions is proving all but impossible.
Below, we present a short sprint past all the key dates in European policy for professional athletics:
1984 – Sport officially becomes a tool to boost the popularity of the European integration process among the citizens of different countries. From this year, various athletic competitions and tournaments have been organized under the auspices of the EU.
1995 – Professional football gets a significant boost, the ceiling on transfer fees is eliminated and restrictions on including players from other countries in drafts are lifted. On the flip side, this has also led to the absurdly high salaries and transfer fees in professional seen in football today...
2007 – Presentation of the first White Paper on sport. Sport is linked to the war on drugs and racism. Beyond this, the EU discovers that sport offers an excellent tool to accelerate the integration of minority groups.
2010 – Bigwigs turn their attention to sport policy; the EU appoints ministers of sport to brainstorm on ways in which it can serve the sports world.
2011 – A less rosy development: the EU draws up an international list of hooligans to be barred from all stadiums in Europe.
2013 – An investigation into match fixing and bribery to influence the outcome of games and matches reveals that this problem is much bigger all across Europe than originally thought. Including in the Netherlands. The EU intends to combat this.
2014 – for the first time ever, European sport policy will get its own EU policy chapter and budget.