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11 Jul 2007
IOC News , Press Release

IOC-FIFA Joint Declaration - EU white paper on sport: Much work remains to be done

The Olympic and sport movement acknowledges the publication of the EU White Paper on Sport.  They note that, whilst the concept of a White Paper on Sport was to be welcomed, the content of the final version represents – unfortunately - a missed opportunity. 

The White Paper is structured in full contradiction with the actual architecture of the Olympic movement, ignoring in particular the regulatory competences of the International Federations, the division of responsibilities between the latter and their European Confederations, the global nature of the issues and challenges currently affecting sport as well as the solutions which are today necessary.

As sports governing bodies at world level, we are all committed to the protection of fair and open competition, to the promotion of athlete and player education and training, to the maintenance of competitive balance, and to the need to protect the integrity of our respective sports. These are all key features of the European sports model and we would like to see the European Commission work along side us to defend and nurture this model of sport – not just for the future development of sport but for the benefit of society as a whole.

Whilst the White Paper contains certain positive elements (regarding, for example, the recognition that national teams play an essential role across all sports in terms of identity and financial solidarity), we are disappointed that the EU has not reached firmer conclusions with regard to some of the key issues facing sport today, thus contributing to its future healthy development.

It was in particular expected that the White Paper would give concrete expression to the Nice Declaration including providing sport with a more stable legal environment for the future, fully recognising both the autonomy and specificity of sport as well as the central role and independence of the sports federations (governing bodies) in organising, regulating and promoting their respective sports. Concretely, there needs to be a clearer legal environment as regards the scope of regulatory discretion for sports governing bodies in sports-related matters. 

Looking forward however, we will continue to cooperate with the EU Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission, with particular attention to the appropriate inclusion of sport in the Reform Treaty to be debated and finalized by the Inter-governmental conference.

Much work remains to be done.

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