Discussions on the revision of the European Sports Charter continue

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

On 6 July 2020, the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) invited members of the Governing Board and the Consultative Committee to take part in the consultation seminar on “Revising the European Sports Charter – the State of Play”. Following a survey for gathering input in the process of revising the European Sports Charter (ESC), the online seminar was a chance to discuss some aspects of the first revised draft of the document.

Stanislas Frossard, EPAS Executive Secretary from the Council of Europe, welcomed the participants and Michael Trinker from the EPAS Secretariat presented briefly the key outcomes of the survey on the first draft revised version of the ESC.

Michael Trinker and Stanislas Frossard at the meeting
Michael Trinker and Stanislas Frossard at the meeting

Selected stakeholders had been invited to give brief interventions on some of the core elements of the ESC. On behalf of the European Olympic Committees’ EU Office, Director Folker Hellmund expressed the Office’s appreciation for the evolution of the document in general. He also proposed some necessary improvements, such as including the notion of the European Sport Model. Some expressions that impose monitoring and control over the sports movement require softening, in order for the document to be in line with itself in terms of allowing the sports movement its autonomy in decision-making. He also proposed that the social aspects and fundamental values of sport should be further emphasised in the document. The public authorities’ role in ensuring the equal access to sport, through the provision of sport facilities and support for sports clubs, should also be acknowledged. Sustainable financing of grassroots sport and sports clubs is important to ensuring the right to sport, and the European Sport Model with its solidarity mechanism is also key to ensuring this principle.

During the discussion, ENGSO President Stefan Bergh took the floor and thanked the EPAS Secretariat for the opportunity to address the development of the Charter together. ENGSO has extensively contributed throughout the process, including the previously organised consultation survey, and is willing to continue the cooperation to ensure a best possible revised Charter that the sports movement can also commit to.

In his comment, Stefan Bergh raised some core issues that are important to ENGSO in order to create a Charter that is relevant for the development of voluntary-based grassroots sport and the civil society of sport in Europe. In general, ENGSO appreciates that volunteering and voluntary-based sport has been recognised in the draft document, and warmly welcomes the approach to treat sport as a basic right. Everyone should have the right to participate in the activities of sports clubs, and ENGSO has proposed amendments that include concrete measures to support sports clubs and the civil society of sport. ENGSO hopes that the revised ESC will be ambitious in terms of equality, which should be addressed from a broad scope, addressing not only gender but also e.g. age, ethnic background and sexual orientation. Stefan Bergh also expressed ENGSO’s support for the notion of the EOC EU Office that the Charter should aim at protecting the European Sport Model.

ENGSO is of the opinion that in order to ensure that a balanced, credible, and fit for purpose ESC, and to ensure the commitment of the sports movement to its implementation, a representative from the organised sports movement should be invited in the drafting group. Stefan Bergh also voiced ENGSO’s commitment to contribute to the process also in the following stages.

At the end of the seminar, Stanislas Frossard summarised the discussion and explained the next steps, ensuring that sports organisations shall continue to play a part in the revision process. The plan is to adopt the revised European Sports Charter in 2021.