On 21 November 2019, the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council adopted two conclusions related to sports, namely:
- “Combating corruption in sports”, and
- “Safeguarding children in sports”.
The conclusions on “Combating corruption in sports” were welcomed by Commissioner Navracsics, who highlighted that integrity must be part of the sport DNA and that there are no borders in corruption. He stated that the sport family must work together since corruption is a common battle for all of us.
The document notably mentioned:
- The intention of Sport Ministers to create a common EU-approach to fight corruption in sport including a call on the European Commission to work on an action plan leading to Council Recommendations on management corruption in sport;
- Positive initiatives from the sport movement and other actors including the work of IPACS;
- The importance of the protection of Whistle-blowers;
- The need to overcome the deadlock regarding the ratification of the Macolin Convention.
Before the adoption of the conclusions on “Safeguarding children in sports” the importance of the topic was raised by several speakers and the Commissioner stressed in his remarks that “a single child suffering is one too many”. In addition, the speakers shared their experiences from different Erasmus+ projects with focus on ensuring children’s participation in sport without being exposed to any social harm. All children should have the chance to practice sport in a safe environment.
The adoption of the conclusions was followed by a policy debate on good governance in sport. The President-elect of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency), Witold Banka, opened the discussions and pledged that WADAs role is growing but that it cannot fight the threats of sports alone. Banka put forward one of his future priorities as transparency and said that the vast majority of papers from WADA meetings should be made public excluding confidential material. He presented a need for more programmes regarding young athletes and a further development of the monitoring process and the inducement of more penalties.
Promoting good governance at EU level has been one of the priorities during Navracsics’ mandate and the Commissioner draw attention to good governance as a crucial part to not damage the picture of sport in society and in making people feel inspired by sport and to not be driven away from it. In the subsequent discussions, several points were emphasized more than others:
- Ensuring principles and regulations are implemented in practice and are targeted towards the international federations where umbrella organisations play a key role.
- There is a need for a dialogue between Member States, NOCs, and grassroots organisations to cooperate and coordinate joint meetings.
- An Expert Group on integrity in sports is encouraged again in the future.
- Erasmus+ is a great example on how to cooperate within the area and should be further promoted.
- There is also a need for a model and a joint approach within the EU and for EU wide strategies.
It is clear that good governance is of high importance and a problem beyond national borders. A network where to learn from each other was requested by several speakers asking for a comparison of experiences on a sustainable development and a transparency in the administration. In addition, it was mentioned that athlete’s voice must be heard.
The topic of the European Sport Model was also on the agenda of Sport Ministers during the EYCS Council's Sport lunch debate which took place on 21 November. Christophe De Kepper, Director General of the IOC and Danka Bartekova, Vice President of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, were invited to present the views of the Olympic Movement as well as to discuss the role the EU can play to contribute to the protection of the European Sport Model. Sport Ministers were invited to react to the introductory speeches as well as to focus on the two questions:
- How do you see the future of the European Sport Model in the 2020’s?
- What role should governments play in safeguarding the European Sport Model?