Majority of EU countries commit to anti-doping convention

Meeting informally, EU sports ministers have largely backed UNESCO’s anti-doping convention while an idea of a working group on sport and health is gathering momentum.

Doping in sport – majority of EU countries commit to UNESCO convention

Meeting on 19-20 September, a majority of sports ministers from EU countries have made a political commitment to ratify the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport at the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005. They also agreed to review the guiding principles and composition of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances and methods.

Sport and health – proposed new working group

Member states also supported the idea of a new working group to share good practice in promoting public health via sport and drawing on proposals from the EU platform ‘Diet, Physical Activity and Health’. Austria, Finland, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and the Commission will be in the working group.

Promoting equal opportunities and diversity through sport

Member states supported the UK’s recommendations:

  • To present and disseminate examples of good practice in sports participation at forthcoming conferences to be held within the European sports movement;
  • To consider how the Commission could facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information on the nature and effectiveness of policies among Member States in relation to equality of access to sporting services 
  • To consider ways to encourage vocational education and training providers in the field of sport and in those fields such as community, youth and social work, in which sport may be used as a policy tool, to ensure that education and training curricula deal with content relating to sport and inter-cultural dialogue 

Volunteering in sport

The UK presented a policy paper on volunteering in sport. Member states called on future Presidencies to follow up their discussion of volunteering in sport, by developing proposals for promoting and sustaining the voluntary sector in sport, which they acknowledge to be vital to the sustainability of amateur sport in particular.

According to the Liverpool Daily PostUK sports minister Mr Caborn said that "the European Union is committed to eradicating the use of drugs and doping methods in all sport and to ensuring that everyone is given the opportunity to take part, irrespective of their ability, race or gender".

According to the Athens News AgencyGreece's Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos told his fellow EU sports ministers that the "costs and (massive) investment for major sports events force organisers to rely, to a great extent, on the services of volunteers. Otherwise, every event would face an insurmountable financial problem". Greece held the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004.

Meetings of EU sports ministers are informal because the EU has no explicit policy competence in the area of sport per se. Generally discussions are held and best practice shared. There is also a rolling agenda of issues that move from one presidency to the other.

Austria plans to pick up the EU sports baton by focussing on the links between sport and the economy.

EU sports directors [ie below minister level] meet in Vienna on 29-30 March 2006.

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