Adopted by the members of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), the European Sport Charter (ESC) is providing guidance for the Council of Europe’s member states to improve existing legislations or other policies and to develop a comprehensive framework for sport.
Since 2019, EPAS is engaged in a revision of the ESC. Following a questionnaire and a first round of discussion with EPAS governing body and the EPAS Consultative Committee, a survey on the first draft was shared for feedbacks in May 2020.
As a follow-up, EPAS organised, on Monday 6 July, a consultation on “Revising the European Sports Charter – the State of Play” with the objectives to present the results of the survey on the European Sports Charter to discuss selected core elements identified by the feedback from the survey.
The meeting started with a summary of the survey followed by announcement of the EPAS secretariat that they received 35 answers to the questionnaire. 18 answers came from Member States including 11 from the EU, 14 from Consultative Committee members and 3 from CoE services. The following key elements were raised in the survey:
- Several suggestions to add additional references to other international documents in the preamble;
- Need to better define the different stakeholders and the target groups of the ESC;
- Need to clarify the notion of right to sport;
- Follow-up and monitoring should be discussed and rephrased.
- Following this introduction, selected organisations were invited to present their views on four key elements:
- Sport movement by the EOC EU Office and ISCA
- Sport ethics by Panathlon International
- Right to sport by ICSSPE
- Implementation and monitoring by Croatia and UEFA
In his presentation, Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, stated that even if improvements were still necessary, the priorities of the ESC have been well updated to better cover the current reality of sport in Europe with the inclusion of some important concepts including the reference to a right to sport which was also welcomed by several organisations. However, he stressed that the document should systematically mentioned the fundamental principle of physical activity along with physical education and sport, as well as a right to access safe, inclusive and accessible to practice sport and physical activity both inside and outside school setting.
Another key point of its presentation was the importance to include in the document a reference to the European Sport Model, given that the concept has been acknowledged in previous reference documents of the CoE and has been recently endorsed by the 27 EU Sport Ministers). Finally, Hellmund insisted on the need to better define which stakeholders the Charter refers to and to ensure that their tasks are clearly explained in the document to continue to guarantee to the sports movement its autonomy in decision-making.
To conclude the meeting, EPAS secretariat announced that the summer will be used, by the drafting group of the ESC, to revise the document based on the comments made by all the stakeholders and that another consultation webinar will be organised during the second part of 2020.