EU citizens have come out strongly in favour of more EU intervention in sport. This is one of the main messages from the 2004 Eurobarometer on sport, published on 2 December just ahead of the closing ceremony of the European Year of Education through Sport. For the first time there are explicit references to sport in an EU treaty. The new Constitution still needs to be ratified by all member states.
Although down from 80% to 78%, improving one’s health is still clearly regarded by those polled as one of the main benefits of sport. This will underline EU and member states’ joint commitment in the fight against the growing problem of obesity. Also good news from this point of view is that, for 86% of those polled, playing sport is a sufficiently attractive alternative to distract from indoor activities such as TV, video games and the internet.
Seventy-two per cent of EU citizens polled (74% in 2003) said doping was the main negative aspect of sport with as many as 93% of Greeks saying the EU should be more active in the fight against the scourge. Commissioner Figel recently noted in a speech that doping has become a problem not just in professional but also amateur sport.
According to the report, four in five citizens claim they want more time dedicated to sport in school programmes with the same number wanting more co-operation between the educational institutions and sports organisations in their country. The Commission will no doubt feel vindicated by these figures in its efforts to promote the social and educational aspects of sport.