A joint declaration for defending the specificity of sport in Europe
News from the CEV
Nyon/Luxembourg, April 24, 2008. After the meeting which was held today at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) and which was devoted to the defend the specificity of sport in the European Union, the French and Dutch Ministers for European Affairs, along with the French Minister of State responsible for Sport, Youth and Associations and the governing bodies of football (UEFA), volleyball (CEV), basketball (FIBA Europe), rugby (IRB, FIRA-AER), handball (EHF), and ice-hockey (IIHF) adopted a common joint declaration.
CEV President, Mr. André Meyer, reports: “I was very pleased to attend this top-seeded meeting along with 3 Ministers who are namely in charge to defend the specificity of sport within the institutional and legislative frame of the European Union. This specificity is currently being defended by all the most important governing bodies for team sports across Europe and I feel like this strong co-operation and sharing of common goals will enable the CEV to continue working for a further development of volleyball in Europe as well as for its promotion amongst the new generations in the years to come”.
The complete text of the joint declaration sounds as follows:
1. The parties recognize the great benefits that sport brings to society, in terms of, for example, social cohesion, integration and education. As such, it is vital that the central role and autonomy of sports federations in the organization, regulation and promotion of their respective sports be recognized. It is also essential to stimulate the European Sports Model, with its pyramidal structure and its solidarity mechanisms.
2. Following up the Franco-Dutch Memorandum of last October 25, 2007 on the Specificity of Sport in Europe, which raised a series of points to be clarified, it is possible today to start with three of the main areas of concern to team sports in Europe: training and education, governance of clubs and players’ agents.
a) Regarding training and education it is necessary to underline the importance for sports federations of:
I. promoting « dual training » (sporting and vocational) in order to secure the future of sportspeople after their sporting career;
II. protecting young sportspeople, as well as the clubs that invest in their training, by introducing strict rules linked to clear conditions and strong guarantees in order to ensure the greatest level of stability;
III. encouraging the training of young sportspeople, for example by introducing rules which foresee a minimum number of locally-trained (“homegrown”) players in teams.
b) Regarding governance of clubs, it is recognized that the introduction by sports federations of a licensing system, or even a stricter European provision for financial control of professional clubs introducing in particular common financial rules, constitutes an indispensable instrument of good governance.
c) Regarding players’ agents, it is noted that the European Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment. This study will constitute a basis for important reflection in order to better regulate this profession in the future on a European level, with the aim of better protecting players and clubs from certain irregular activities.
3. In addition to the three priority subjects mentioned above, the European sporting movement needs overall stability and legal security in order to preserve, promote and develop sport. As things stand, the European sports federations do not have the necessary legal security to be able to fulfill their statutory tasks, notably to be able to build the best national teams and to maintain the importance and status of international matches and tournaments.
4. The French and Dutch governments have already clarified their position on this subject in the above mentioned Memorandum, notably by asking the European Commission, which is competent and has the necessary legal means, to clarify the status of sport according to EU law on a certain number of points.
5. Today, the French and Dutch governments have asked the European team sports, in consultation with their respective international federations and internal interest groups, to present concrete proposals, so that they can be jointly examined during the French Presidency of the European Union in order to propose, before the end of this year, a series of concrete measures.
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