ENGSO publishes its recommendations on the next EU Work Plan for Sport

In the second half of 2020, the ministers of EU Member States responsible for sport are foreseen to adopt a Resolution on the European Union Work Plan for Sport, guiding the EU sports policy in the coming few years. In the new EU Work Plan for Sport – fourth of its kind – the Member States agree on the Union’s sports policy priorities. The Work Plan can be expected to define some principles related to the working methods, structures and reporting of the actions.

In its online meeting on 24 June 2020, the ENGSO Executive Committee adopted the ENGSO Position and Recommendations on the future EU Work Plan for Sport post-2020. ENGSO proposes that the upcoming European Union Work Plan for Sport:

  • maintains grassroots sport as a priority area

  • proposes actions that have relevance for organised sport, and

  • acknowledges the special status of organised sport as a privileged partner whose opinion is heard in EU decision-making processes.

Read or download the Position Paper here, or read the summary below.

ENGSO, the European Sports NGO, proposes the following key recommendations for the future EU Work Plan for Sport post-2020:

A. Dialogue, representativeness and diversity

It is vital that the special status of organised sport as a privileged discussion partner is acknowledged, and that the opinion of those that represent grassroots sport is heard in EU decision-making processes from the earliest stages, in order to ensure the relevance of EU sports policy initiatives and to foster commitment to their implementation. The EU should employ the ‘nothing about us without us’ approach and ensure diversity and gender balance at events.

B. Policy priorities: autonomous sport that scores for society

ENGSO raises voluntary-based grassroots sport and the societal role of sport as areas of particular importance for the next EU Work Plan for Sport. The potential of sport for promoting European values, fostering positive change and engaging citizens needs to be further explored and utilised. Through its initiatives, the EU can help sport in levelling up its efforts to enhance sustainability and protect the environment and climate, as well as to promote health, inclusion, education, employment, youth involvement, equality and diversity. The European Union can further support the development of good governance and integrity within sport, while respecting the autonomy of sport. Modern, safe and sustainable funding of sport is vital in order to maintain a thriving voluntary-based sports sector, especially while recovering from the COVID-19 crisis – and to reap the benefits that sport has for society. In order to appreciate the full economic dimension of sport, a comprehensive understanding of the economic and social impact of voluntary-based sport should be developed. It is important to continue the work to mainstream sport in other policy fields, for example through promoting the usage of structural funds and other tools to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Sport is an indivisible part of the European way of life, and the European Sport Model and the values of sport should be consider as part of our cultural heritage.

C. Actions for a thriving civil society of sport, efficient policy implementation and lasting impact

In order to foster a sustainable impact, selected methods and outputs of the Work Plan should match with the real needs of sport, and provide the sports movement with incentives and support that ensure the long-term commitment to the implementation of EU sports policy. ENGSO is proposing actions within the field of sport as well as mainstreamed measures, for example:

  • Ensuring the eligibility of sport for general support measures to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID-19

  • Complementing the work done on the Sport Satellite Accounts by conducting a study on the economic and social impact of voluntary-based sport

  • Enhancing the evidence-base of European sports policy with a complete study on the societal role of voluntary-based grassroots sport

  • Anchoring sport into cohesion policy by producing guidelines for using EU funding for sports facilities

  • Reviewing the progress on and update the EU Proposals for Strategic Actions on Gender Equality 2014–2020, and ensure their implementation

  • Discussions at the highest political level between EU decision-makers and the organised sport movement on the European Sport Model in order to safeguard the specificity of sport

  • Stock-taking exercise, report and subsequent recommendations on the legal forms of support and sustainable funding for sport

  • Begin the preparations to support the implementation of EU policy through operational grants for organisations representing voluntary-based grassroots sport

  • Providing earmarked financial incentives to the organised sports movement within the Erasmus+ Sport context to facilitate the implementation of Council Conclusions, recommendations and other EU policies

  • Enhancing the resilience of sports clubs and encourage innovation in grassroots sport by setting up a High-level Group on innovation in sport clubs to discuss and propose measures.

Read or download the Position Paper here.