This week, a group of athletes’ representatives from the Olympic Movement, led by IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel, met in Brussels and spoke to various EU decision-makers who work on relevant topics like the fight against match-fixing and doping, dual career and a sports funding programme.
Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, warmly welcomed the athletes’ representatives and successful Olympians from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and various National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and explained how his close involvement in the organisation of the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games has influenced his life as a person and a political figure alike.
Barnier, a sports enthusiast, still runs, swims and skies on a regular basis. In his function as an EU Commissioner, he has recently worked towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling which highlights the need to safeguard the integrity of sport and prevent match-fixing. Claudia Bokel took the opportunity to explain how the Olympic Movement is educating athletes and their entourage members about the threat of irregular and illegal betting on sport.
The athletes’ representatives also visited the European Parliament and spoke to MEPs Doris Pack and Santiago Fisas, respectively Chair and member of the Culture and Education Committee which deals with sport-related topics. Both have been working recently on shaping a new funding line for sport within the EU budget for 2014-2020, and so were keen to listen to the needs of the athletes in this regard.
In other meetings, the athletes’ representatives exchanged views with officials of the European Commission responsible for youth and sport and agreed on a future dialogue with regard to the implementation of the European Guidelines on Dual Career and other topics impacting athletes in Europe.
The visit was coordinated by the EOC EU Office in Brussels.