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Procedure : 2011/2087(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0385/2011

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Debates :

PV 01/02/2012 - 18
CRE 01/02/2012 - 18

Votes :

PV 02/02/2012 - 12.9
CRE 02/02/2012 - 12.9
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Explanations of votes

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 2 February 2012 - Brussels
European dimension in sport

European Parliament resolution of 2 February 2012 on the European dimension in sport (2011/2087(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 January 2011 entitled ‘Developing the European Dimension in Sport’ (COM(2011)0012),

–  having regard to the Commission White Paper on Sport (COM(2007)0391),

–  having regard to the Commission communication on ‘Fighting Corruption in the EU’ (COM(2011)0308),

–  having regard to the two Council of Europe conventions on Spectator violence and misbehaviour at sports events of 19 August1985 and on anti-doping of 19 August 1990,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 June 2003 on women and sport(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2004 on respect for core labour standards in the production of sports goods for the Olympic Games(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on doping in sport(3),

–  having regard to its declaration of 14 March 2006 on tackling racism in football(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2006 on forced prostitution in the framework of world sports events(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2007 on the future of professional football in Europe(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2007 on the role of sport in education(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 May 2008 entitled ‘White Paper on Sport’(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2009 on Social Economy(9) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2009 on the integrity of online gambling(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the Commission's fifth Cohesion Report and the strategy for post-2013 cohesion policy(11),

–  having regard to its Declaration of 16 December 2010 on increased support for grassroots sport(12),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2010/37/EC of 27 November 2009 on the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 November 2010 on the role of sport as a source of and a driver for active social inclusion(13),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2010 on the new strategy for jobs and growth,

–  having regard to the Council resolution of 1 June 2011 on a European Union Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014(14),

–  having regard to the Declaration of Punta de l'Este of December 1999 and to UNESCO's round table meeting on traditional sports and games (TSG)(15), dealing with recognition of traditional sports and games as part of intangible heritage and a symbol of cultural diversity,

–  having regard to the case-law of the EU Court of Justice and the Tribunal and the Commission's decisions on sports matters,

–  having regard to the European Charter of Women's Rights in Sports ( Jump in Olympia – Strong(er) Women through Sport),

–  having regard to the Charter for Action to stamp out LGBT discrimination in sport,

–  having regard to Articles 6, 19 and 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(16) of 11-12 October 2011 and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 26-27 October 2011 entitled ‘Developing the European Dimension in Sport’(17),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, of the Committee on Legal Affairs, of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0385/2011),

A.  whereas sport contributes to achieving the EU's strategic objectives, as it highlights fundamental educational and cultural values and is a vector of integration, since it is open to all members of the public, regardless of their sex, ethnic origin, religion, age, nationality, social situation or sexual orientation;

B.  whereas the specific nature of sport should take precedence in the judgement of the ECJ and the Commission's decision on sports matters;

C.  whereas all stakeholders, including policy makers, must take into account the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational functions;

D.  whereas the specific nature of sport arises from the sum of sport's individual and essential aspects which make it different from all other sectors of activity, including economic activities; whereas it should however be subjected to European Union law where appropriate and necessary, and on a case-by case basis;

E.  whereas EU action in the field of sport should always take the specificity of sport into account respecting its social, educational and cultural aspects;

F.  whereas sport is a competence of the EU under the Treaty of Lisbon aiming to promote fairness and openness in sporting competitions, cooperation between the bodies responsible for sport, protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportspeople, and enhancing the health, social, cultural and economic benefits of sport, and requires appropriate financial and policy support;

G.  whereas sport makes a huge contribution to positive values such as fair play, respect and social inclusion;

H.  whereas billions of people throughout the world play sports invented, codified and disseminated in Europe and notes additionally that the modern Olympic movement was created in France by Baron Pierre De Coubertin;

I.  whereas EU Sports Policy must be developed to address and support the aims and objectives of both professional and amateur sports;

J.  whereas the support and promotion of sport for people with intellectual or physical disabilities should be a priority in the EU considering its important role in delivering social inclusion, public health and volunteerism across borders;

K.  whereas volunteering is the cornerstone of most amateur sport in Europe;

L.  whereas 35 million amateurs assist the development of mass-participation sport and the dissemination of sporting ideals, as do clubs and charitable sports associations;

M.  whereas sport is a key factor for health in modern society and, through its role in formal and non-formal education, is an essential part of a high-quality education, and contributes to senior citizens' personal fulfilment;

N.  whereas promoting physical activity and sport makes for significant savings in terms of public expenditure on health;

O.  whereas a key motivating factor behind citizen involvement in sport and physical activity is to improve personal health and well-being;

P.   whereas doping in sport infringes the values of sport and places sportspeople at serious risk, causing serious and permanent damage to health;

Q.  whereas high-level sport is a showcase for certain core sporting values and conveys those values to society generally, encouraging participation in sport;

R.  whereas many top-level athletes face an uncertain future at the end of their sporting career;

S.  whereas it is essential to prepare such athletes for their career change by enabling them to receive general education or vocational training alongside their sports training;

T.  whereas sportspeople's fundamental rights must be safeguarded and protected;

U.  whereas verbal and physical violence and discriminatory behaviour may potentially occur during sports competitions;

V.  whereas women's participation in sport is not sufficiently valued, and women are under-represented within the decision-making bodies of sports organisations;

W.  whereas sporting activities require specific and appropriate facilities, equipment and apparatus and whereas schools too should have suitable facilities to promote physical education;

X.  whereas sport plays an important part in the European economy, as it directly or indirectly employs 15 million people, i.e. 5.4% of the working population, and represents an annual added value of approximately EUR 407 billion, or 3.65% of Europe's GDP, and an economically flourishing sports sector thus contributes to achieving the aims of the Europe 2020 strategy;

Y.  whereas the violation of sports organisations' intellectual property rights and the upsurge in digital piracy, especially the unlicensed live transmission of sports events, puts the economy of the entire sports sector at risk;

Z.  whereas sport does not function like a typical sector of the economy because of the interdependence between opponents and the competitive balance needed to preserve the uncertainty of results;

AA.  whereas sport does not behave like a typical economic activity because of its specific characteristics and its organisational structures, underpinned by federations, which do not operate as commercial companies, and whereas a distinction must be made between sporting and commercial interests;

AB.  whereas European social dialogue can play an important role and should therefore be promoted;

AC.  whereas sport plays an important role and brings joy to many citizens whether they are participants, supporters or spectators;

AD.  whereas major events and participation in sport provide extraordinary opportunities to exploit the potential of tourism development in Europe, which can spread the values and principles linked to sport;

AE.  whereas the European model of sport is based on a federation for each sports discipline, and whereas mechanisms for sports and financial solidarity, such as the principle of promotion and relegation and open competitions involving both clubs and national teams, are organised on an autonomous, democratic and territorial basis and in a pyramid structure, as the result of a longstanding democratic tradition;

AF.  whereas transparency and democratic accountability at sports clubs can be improved by the involvement of supporters in the ownership and governance structure of their clubs;

AG.  whereas traditional and grassroots sporting organisations play a key role in strengthening culture, promoting social inclusion and enhancing communities;

AH.  whereas national teams have a key role to play, international competitions continue to constitute a reference model and action should be taken against ‘naturalisations of convenience’;

AI.  whereas the very nature of competitions between national teams implies that sports federations and clubs can enhance the training of their national sportspeople;

AJ.  whereas professional and grassroots sport are vulnerable to and seriously affected by financial instability and it is the responsibility of the relevant federations to encourage clubs to adopt a culture of planning and sensible investment;

AK.  whereas international transfers can be dangerous for young athletes, since sporting failure, family disruption and social marginalisation are some of the consequences that can result when young athletes leave home too early;

AL.  whereas sports federations do not have the structural or legal means to take effective action against match-fixing;

AM.  whereas gambling services are excluded from the scope of the Services Directive (2006/123/EC) and the new Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU), due to their specificity;

AN.  whereas funding for grassroots sport is only secured if holders of the necessary national gambling licences, who pay taxes and finance other public interest objectives in Member States, are legally obliged to pay ‘public interest’ levies and are effectively protected against illegal competition;

AO.  whereas the regulation of players' agents requires concerted action between sports governing bodies and public authorities so that effective sanctions can be imposed against agents and/or intermediaries who break the rules;

AP.  whereas sport can play a part in various areas of the EU's external relations, among others by means of diplomacy;

The social role of sport

1.  Urges the Commission to propose a dedicated and ambitious budget for sports policy under the future MFF given the public health, social, cultural and economic benefits of sport;

2.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that sport becomes a subject in the curriculum of schools of all kinds, and underlines the importance of encouraging participation in sports at all levels of education, from early years onwards, including schools, universities and local communities which should be encouraged to have sports facilities with suitable equipment;

3.  Urges Member States to establish clear guidelines to integrate sport and physical activity into all levels of education across the Member States;

4.  Highlights the importance of education through sport and the potential of sport to help get socially vulnerable youngsters back on track and asks the Member States, national associations, leagues and clubs to develop and support initiatives in this respect;

5.  Calls on the Member States to promote and support the cooperation of schools and sports clubs; in this context, the Commission should make use of its coordinating function in sport to gather examples of best practice from the Member States and make these available to all interested parties throughout Europe in a central database;

6.  Recommends that the Commission encourage the practice of sport among senior citizens as it helps to promote social interaction and high rates of good health;

7.  Underlines that sports at all ages is an important area of great potential for increasing the overall health level of Europeans and therefore calls on the EU and on Member States to facilitate engagement in sport and to promote a healthy lifestyle fully exploiting the opportunities of sport, thereby reducing spending on healthcare;

8.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support more strongly the role of health professionals in the promotion of sports participation and to examine how health insurance providers could offer incentives as a way of encouraging people to take up sporting activities;

9.  Underlines the importance of making sport available to all citizens in many different settings, whether at school, at work, as a recreational activity or through clubs and associations;

10.  Acknowledges the work done by organisations delivering sporting activities for persons with intellectual or physical disabilities across the EU; calls on the Commission, the Member States and sports organisations to promote and develop, with appropriate funding, sport activities and competitions for people with disabilities, notably by making available and giving to them equal access to sport and free-of-charge sports facilities tailored to their needs;

11.  Stresses the great socially-integrating power of sport in many areas, including civic commitment and the conception of democracy, the promotion of good health, urban development, social integration, the job market, employment, skills training and education;

12.  Encourages the Member States and the Community institutions to increase their grants to organisations that seek to integrate through sport people at risk of social exclusion or that promote sport for physically or mentally disabled people;

13.  Encourages Member States to permanently include sport in programmes and services for a real integration of all groups at risk of discrimination and calls on sport organisations to adopt appropriate training programmes for professionals and volunteers to prevent and fight against any form of discrimination or racism;

14.  Highlights the exemplary function of sport for society and urges sports governing bodies to take leadership in countering institutional discrimination;

15.  Recalls that gender discrimination should not occur in sport, and calls for application of the Olympic Charter to be extended to all sporting events, particularly European ones;

16.  Calls on the Council, the Commission, the Member States and national governing sports bodies to commit to tackling homophobia and transphobia and to implement legislation and anti- discrimination policies especially for lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender athletes properly;

17.  Calls on Member States to place greater emphasis on the importance of quality physical education for both genders and suggests that they develop the necessary strategies to address this issue;

18.  Emphasises that the composition of sports organisations' decision-making bodies must reflect that of their AGMs as well as the gender balance among their licensed players, thus affording men and women equal access to administrative roles even at transnational level;

19.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to acknowledge the importance of sport as a means of promoting peace, economic growth, intercultural dialogue, public health, integration and the emancipation of women;

20.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to urge the International Olympic Committee to impose their own rule in the Olympic Charter forbidding all demonstrations or political, religious or racist propaganda at sports events and at the same time to ensure that political pressure is not put on women to violate this rule and that it is not evaded by women not being sent by their countries to compete;

21.  Calls on sport organisations to further encourage women's participation in sport and in the governance bodies of sports organisations by guaranteeing equal access to sporting activities, in particular for girls and women from disadvantaged backgrounds, by promoting female participation in sport and giving women's and men's sports and results equal prominence and visibility; encourages Member States to develop measures enabling female athletes to reconcile their family and professional sports life and to promote gender equality into governmental policies on sport; calls on the Commission to encourage the exchange of information and good practices with regard to equal opportunities for people of both genders in sport;

22.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support European organisations for the promotion and implementation of the recommendations of the European Charter of Women's Rights in Sports;

23.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to include gender mainstreaming into all its sports-related activities, with a specific focus on: access to sport for immigrant women and women from ethnic minorities, women's access to decision-making positions in sport and media coverage of women in sport, and to ensure that sport policies and legislation are based upon sex equality;

24.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support and encourage European research into the specific character of female sporting activities, the reasons why women and girls give up sport, and the persistence of inequalities in women's access to sport;

25.  Encourages the creation of women's networks in the field of sport to promote exchange of best practices and information;

26.  Underlines that parents' prohibiting immigrant girls from taking part in sports and swimming at school cannot be tolerated or excused on cultural or religious grounds;

27.  Points out that while many girls play sports in younger years, many drop out during adolescence; refers in this context to research showing that girls face overt or subtle pressure from peers and families to ‘feminise’ or take on responsibilities that prohibit continued participation; encourages Member States and national sports governing bodies to develop strategies for programmes and coaches to support, in particular, girls interested in sports in developing their identity as athletes;

28.  Stresses the need to fight against doping, while respecting athletes' fundamental rights, with particular attention to the youngest athletes, through prevention and information campaigns; urges the Member States to treat trafficking in illegal performance-enhancing substances in the sports world in the same way as trafficking in illegal drugs and to adopt national legislation to this end seeking to improve European coordination in this field; calls on the World Anti-Doping Agency to create an easy-to-use whereabouts administration system in line with EU law and stresses the need for statistics on the use of doping and missed tests to establish a tailored approach to combat doping;

29.  Believes the accession of the EU to the Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe is a necessary step to coordinate a more uniform implementation of the WADA code in the Member States;

30.  Is in favour of greater harmonisation of legislation in order to achieve effective cooperation on the part of the police and the judiciary in the fight against doping and other kinds of manipulation of sports events;

31.  Calls on the Member States to approach the issue of gambling addiction and the protection of minors from the risks of gambling;

32.  Is in favour of formulating clear rules on the protection of minors in competitive sport and of developing further vital protection measures in consultation with the federations;

33.  Stresses the critical importance of dual sport and career training for young sportspersons; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States, together with all the relevant actors, to draw up guidelines to ensure young sportspersons are able to pursue normal school and/or professional studies in addition to their sports training, taking account of existing best practice in the individual Member States; encourages Member States, in that regard, to take account of the relevant experience of former professional sportspersons if they wish to become trainers, to establish designed career paths for high-level athletes who decide to pursue a course of higher education, and to use their experience for the benefit of sport generally;

34.  Urges Member States to develop educational programmes structured to facilitate the combination of learning and training for professional athletes;

35.  Proposes that a training and qualifications framework for coaches and coach education be established and incorporated in the European Qualifications Framework and Lifelong Learning Programmes in order to advance a knowledge-based society and the development of excellence in coaching at both the amateur and professional level;

36.  Highlights the role of coaches in the development and education of young people, not just in sporting skills but also in life skills; notes that coaches can provide guidance for young people to develop a healthy lifestyle;

37.  Calls on Member States, in close consultation with the relevant federations to refuse access to stadiums to supporters who have displayed violent or discriminatory behaviour and to create a coordinated approach in setting and enforcing sanctions against them, to cooperate closely to ensure that stadium bans remain in force for international matches in Member States other than that in which they were imposed and to set up, while respecting individual rights and freedom, a European database in order to share information and to enhance cooperation by means of an improved warning system for high-risk matches;

38.  Takes a positive view of the Member States' drawing up minimum safety standards for stadiums, in consultation with the European sports federations, and taking all appropriate measures to ensure that players and supporters are as safe as possible;

39.  Points out that, where sports take place in the natural environment, a balance must be ensured between their societal benefits and the health of the environment in which they take place;

40.  Underlines the potential of sporting events for tourism at local and national level and calls on the Member States to aid the development of this branch of economic and commercial activities;

The economic dimension of sport

41.  Is in favour of the special nature of sport being recognised in the field of the internal market and competition law and therefore reiterates its call for the Commission to adopt guidelines on the application of EU law to sport in order to rectify the many legal uncertainties;

42.  Notes that sponsorship provides a vital financial lifeline and many possibilities in sport, with respect for the financial fair play principles;

43.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to accord a high status to voluntary activities in sport; reiterates the importance of volunteers in sport and stresses the need to establish a framework of social recognition and to provide volunteers with proper training, it is in favour of an exchange of information and best practice between Member States in order to promote volunteering in sport and of exploring the feasibility of a legal and tax framework that is suitable for the activities of sports associations;

44.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create a system for the recognition of qualifications gained by volunteers and of qualifications required for regulated sport-related professions;

45.  Stresses that the mutual recognition of courses and specialist training within a unified European framework for professionals working in sport as specialists (referees, coaches) is particularly important as it makes a long-term contribution to increasing competitiveness, which would in turn enable major revenue loss to be avoided;

46.  Encourages Member States to ensure higher education for sportspeople and a harmonised recognition of their sports and education qualifications to enhance professional mobility;

47.  In addition, encourages the Member States to improve structures for former sportspeople returning to the labour market and their integration into a career after professional sport;

48.  Calls on the Member States to consider ways of alleviating the financial burden on the lowest-paid professional sportspersons, who have brief and fluctuating careers; reiterates that professional sportspeople, who are categorised as athletes, and the majority of whose earnings come from sport, should be entitled to the same social security rights as workers;

49.  Considers social dialogue in sport an appropriate way for finding the balance between the fundamental rights and employment rights of sportspeople combined with the specific nature of sport;

50.  Believes that, in the constantly evolving economic dimension of the sport industry, immediate improvements to sport-related issues are needed in crucial areas such as the free movement of workers and services, freedom of establishment, recognition of professional qualifications, intellectual property rights and state aid rules in order to guarantee that the sports industry takes full advantage of the benefits of the internal market;

51.  Underlines the fundamental importance of commercial exploitation of audiovisual rights for sport competitions being carried out on a centralised, exclusive and territorial basis with a view to guaranteeing that revenues are distributed fairly between elite and mass-participation sport;

52.  Believes that sporting events which are regarded as being of major importance for society should be accessible to the widest possible range of people; calls on Member States which have not done so to take measures to ensure that broadcasters under its jurisdiction do not broadcast such events on an exclusive basis;

53.  Acknowledges the right for journalists to access and report on organised sporting events of public interest in order to safeguard the right of the public to obtain and receive independent news and information on sporting events;

54.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to protect intellectual property rights in respect of sports content, with due regard for the public's right to information;

55.  Considers that betting on sport is a form of commercial exploitation of competitions and calls on the Commission and the Member States to protect betting from unauthorised activities, from unlicensed operators and from suspicions of match fixing, in particular by recognising organisers' property rights with regard to their competitions, guaranteeing a significant contribution from betting operators towards funding mass-participation and grassroots sports and by protecting the integrity of competitions with an emphasis on education for athletes; considers, however, that such property rights should not prejudice the right of short reporting as stipulated by Directive 2007/65/EC (Audiovisual Media Services Directive);

56.  Reiterates its request that the Commission draw up guidelines on state aid, indicating what type of public support is legitimate with a view to achieving the social, cultural and educational goals of sport;

57.  Calls on the Member States to take effective action to fight corruption and promote ethics in sport; regards it as essential, therefore, that each country introduce strict rules on the financial supervision of sports clubs;

58.  Encourages sports associations to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, among other things by means of sharing information, in the interest of an adequate and efficient approach to tackling match fixing and other fraud in sports;

59.  Calls on the Commission to propose concrete measures to secure the funding of sport generated by lotteries;

60.  Points out that the introduction by the Commission of satellite accounting in the sport sector is extremely timely, as it enables activities connected with sport to be assessed at national level in accordance with uniform standards, which makes it possible to detect anomalies and brings added value to the European economy and the single market;

61.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take practical action to promote exchanges of good practice and foster closer cooperation with regard to technical aspects and sports-related research;

62.  Considers the role of local and regional authorities in developing the European dimension of sport to be fundamental because their institutional tasks include providing services for the public in the field of sport and allocating funding for sporting activities and for the facilities they require;

63.  Insists that grassroots sport should benefit from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, which should allow for investment in sports infrastructure and urges the Commission and the Member States to provide the Union with a specific budget programme in the field of sport, as is now possible under Article 165 TFEU;

Organisation of sport

64.  Notes that sports structures in Europe are based on the principles of nationality and territoriality;

65.  Reaffirms its attachment to the European model of sport, within which federations play a central role and which has various actors, including supporters, players, clubs, leagues, associations and volunteers at its base, which have a fundamental role in supporting the entire sport structure;

66.  Calls for a reduction in the barriers to volunteering in sport across the EU;

67.  Emphasises the important role played by local bodies in promoting sport for all within society and calls on these bodies to be actively involved in the European forums for debate and dialogue aimed at the sports world;

68.  Recalls that good governance in sport is a condition for the autonomy and self-regulation of sports organisations, in compliance with the principles of transparency, accountability and democracy and stresses the need for a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in sport; underlines the need for appropriate representation of all stakeholders in the decision-making process;

69.  Calls on Member States and sports governing bodies to actively stimulate the social and democratic role of sport fans who support the principles of fair play, by promoting their involvement in the ownership and governance structures at their sports clubs and as important stakeholders in sports governing bodies;

70.  Maintains that sporting clubs should make players available when they are selected for national teams, while recognising their contribution to the success of major national team tournaments, which might include insurance mechanisms, and emphasises that a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot be applied to all sports;

71.  Underlines that training for players at local level and investments in sports education are needed for the sustainable development of the sports movement in Europe and the diffusion of its positive influence on individuals and society; considers it necessary, therefore to ensure that high-level sport does not affect the development of young sportsmen, amateur sports and the essential role of grassroots sporting organisations; emphasises the need for the equivalence and recognition of diplomas and qualifications in sports;

72.  Reaffirms its commitment to the home-grown player rule, and considers that could be a model for other professional leagues in Europe; supports further efforts of sports governing bodies that stimulate the training of local young players within the limits of EU law thus strengthening the competitive balance within competitions and the healthy development of the European sports model;

73.  Considers that the development of new talent is one of the core activities of a sports club, and that an over-dependence on the transfer of players can undermine sporting values;

74.  Underlines the importance of training allowances, as these provide an effective protection mechanism for training centres and a fair return on investment;

75.  Considers that the profession of sports agents should be a regulated professional activity, and subject to an adequate official qualification and that sports agents' fiscal residence should be within EU territory in the interest of transparency; calls on the Commission to draw up and implement, in cooperation with the sports federations, players' unions and agents' associations, a European licensing and registration system accompanied by a code of conduct and a sanctioning mechanism;

76.  Proposes the setting up by sports federations of a non-public European register of sports agents, in which agents would list the names of the players that they represent, so as to protect athletes, in particular those below the age of 18 so as to limit the risk of conflicts of interest; takes the view that the payment of agents' fees for transfers should be made in a number of instalments throughout the duration of the contract, which is entered into by the sportsperson as a result of the transfer, with full payment being dependent on that contract being fulfilled;

77.  Calls on Member States to supplement existing regulatory provisions governing players' agents / intermediaries with deterrent sanctions and to implement these sanctions rigorously;

78.  Calls on sports governing bodies to enhance transparency with regard to players' agents' activities and to cooperate with Member States' authorities to eradicate corrupt practices;

79.  Welcomes the study carried out at the Commission's request on the economic and legal impact of player transfers; also takes the view that the action taken by sports federations to make international transfers more transparent should be supported;

80.  Expresses the view that systems implemented by sports governing bodies in bringing more transparency to the international transfers of players, constitute a step in the right direction, as they serve the principle of good governance and aim at ensuring integrity in sporting competitions;

81.  Clearly states its support for licensing systems and financial fair play, as they encourage clubs to compete within their actual financial means;

82.  Considers that these measures are helping to improve governance, restore long-term financial stability and sustainability of clubs and contribute to financial fairness in European competitions, and therefore asks the European Commission to recognise the compatibility of such rules with EU law;

83.  Welcomes the efforts of sports federations to ban the ownership of more than one sports club engaged in the same competition; takes the view that betting operators should be prohibited from holding a controlling stake in a body which organises or participates in competitions, and that bodies which organise or participate in competitions should be prohibited from holding a controlling stake in an operator offering bets on the events they organise or in which they participate;

84.  Urges Member States to take all necessary action to prevent and punish illegal activities affecting the integrity of sport and making such activities a criminal offence; in particular where such they are betting-related, meaning that they involve the intentional and fraudulent manipulation of the results of a sport competition or of a phase of it in order to gain an advantage not based solely on normal sporting practice or the associated uncertainty;

85.  Urges sport federations to work closely with Member States in order to protect the integrity of sport;

86.  Calls on the European Commissions to tackle the opacity of transfers and match-fixing, as announced in its EU anti-corruption strategy, by establishing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences in this field;

87.  Is deeply concerned at the serious illegal activities taking place in sport, such as money laundering, and calls on the Member States to step up their cooperation to tackle these issues and to ensure greater transparency in financial transactions conducted as part of player transfers and agents' activities;

88.  Maintains that it is essential to develop instruments designed to foster cooperation between public authorities, sports authorities and gambling operators in relation to cases of sports fraud, and that cooperation with Europol and Eurojust could be envisaged;

89.  Recognises the legitimacy of sports courts for resolving disputes in sport, as long as they respect people's fundamental rights to a fair trial; calls for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to take into account EU law provisions when it comes to settlement of sport disputes within the EU disputes arising within the EU;

90.  Calls on the Commission to submit, by 2012, a proposal aimed at gaining a better understanding of the specific needs of the sports sector and taking practical action to address them, with full regard to the provisions of Article 165 TFEU;

Cooperation with non-member States and international organisations

91.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate with non-member states on issues such as international player transfers, exploitation of underage players, match fixing piracy and illegal betting; also stresses the need to step up international cooperation with regard to the promotion of sport in developing countries;

92.  Looks forward to the results of systems put in place for monitoring transparency and financial fair play and for combating corruption and human trafficking; stresses the need for the system to comply with EU law and data protection rules; calls on SGBs to link data from the TMS with other anti-corruption systems with a view to more effective monitoring to combat match fixing;

93.  Stresses the need to address unauthorised EU- and non-EU-based gambling operators as these are able to avoid sports fraud monitoring systems;

94.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote in all cooperation with non-member states the global respect of Olympic rules and regulations;

95.  Calls on clubs to ensure compliance with immigration laws when they sign up young people from non-member States, and to ensure that all the terms of their contract comply with the law in force; calls for young athletes to be able to return to their country of origin under satisfactory conditions if they so wish, in particular if their career does not take off; emphasises, in this connection, that it is essential to enforce the relevant legislation;

96.  Stresses the need to boost the protection of minors in the context of international transfers; takes the view that international transfers are potentially dangerous for young athletes, who are extremely vulnerable because they have left their families and countries at a young age and should therefore receive ongoing attention from sports organisations;

97.  Calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service to promote, despite rules or obligations imposed on women related to cultural, traditional, historical or religious factors in society, the absolute freedom to exercise any kind of sport for both women and men;

European identity through sport

98.  Calls on the Commission to expand the existing programmes that promote sport as an instrument of its development policy and to launch new initiatives in this field;

99.  Calls on the Commission:

   to organise a ‘European Day of Sports’ every year which promotes the social and cultural role of amateur and professional sports and the benefits of sport in terms of public health;
   to support the designation of a ‘European capital of sport’ every year, under the leadership of ACES (European Capitals of Sport Association), with financial support and the necessary controls;
   to support local, traditional, indigenous sports which are part of the rich cultural and historic diversity of the EU, symbolising the motto of ‘United in Diversity’, by raising awareness of these games through, inter alia, the promotion of a European map and European festivals;
   to set up a mobility programme and relevant measures for young amateur athletes and coaches to enable them to learn new training methods, establish best practice and develop European values through sport such as fair play, respect and social inclusion and to encourage intercultural dialogue;
   to help facilitate a mobility programme for exchange in sports coaches;
   to work with Member States and sporting organisations to protect the fundamental integrity of grassroots sport;
   to support Member States' work on data collection and research in order to exchange best practice;

100.  Suggests that the European flag should be flown at major international sports events held on the EU territory and suggests to sports federations to consider the idea of having it displayed on the clothing of athletes from Member States, alongside the national flags; underlines that it should be entirely voluntary and up to Member States and sports organisations to decide whether they will use the aforementioned option;

o   o

101.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and to European, international and national sports federations.

(1) OJ C 68 E, 18.3.2004, p. 605.
(2) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 1067.
(3) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 590.
(4) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 143.
(5) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 292.
(6) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 232.
(7) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 131.
(8) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2009, p. 51.
(9) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2010, p. 16.
(10) OJ C 87 E, 1.4.2010, p. 30.
(11) P7_TA(2011)0316.
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0498
(13) OJ C 326, 3.12.2010, p. 5.
(14) OJ C 162, 1.6.2011, p. 1.
(15) Almaty, Kazakhstan, 5-6 November 2006.
(16) CdR 66/2011 fin.
(17) CESE 1594/2011 – SOC /413.

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