Sport and the EU treaties

So far, the EU's involvement in sport policy has revolved around its economic aspects but with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, Europe now has a legal base to provide a supporting role to member states in the social, educational and cultural aspects of sport.

EU sport policy

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the EU is starting major preparations to successfully implement Europe's new competence on sport and develop the bloc's first sports programme, to be launched in 2012. 

Sport and Intercultural Dialogue

Already accepted as a tool for social integration, sport is also seen as a means of promoting intercultural understanding in an increasingly diverse Europe.

Women and Sport

Men rule in sports, both as athletes and coaches as well as consumers of the sports entertainment industry. Encouraging women and girls - who often drop out of sport too early - to get more involved is a challenge.

Sport and disability

In spite of efforts to promote equal opportunities in Europe, many children and adults with disabilities still do not exercise their full rights to perform sport and physical activities at their desired levels.

Fight against obesity

Sedentary modern lifestyles and over-eating have raised obesity to the number one public health challenge of the 21st century, with rapidly increasing childhood obesity of particular concern to western nations. The Commission has given the food industry and advertising sector until 2010 to clean up its act.

Sports and development policy

Sport has become a global language and is internationally recognised as a way of reducing poverty and boosting development. The Commission has joined forces with FIFA to promote football as a factor for development in the ACP countries and the White Paper on Sport announces a more general use of sport as a tool in the EU development policy.

Boosting sports participation in the EU

Sport brings health benefits and plays a social and educational role. However, statistics show that an average EU citizen spends more than six hours per day seated and that close to 50% take no exercise whatsoever.

Volunteer work and sport

Most sport in the EU member states is run by volunteers. The EU sport ministers agreed, in November 2006, to set up a working group to review the status of amateur non-profit seeking sport organisations in relation to Community law, which currently makes no difference between voluntary and professional sports organisations.

Sport and social inclusion

A declaration annexed to the Amsterdam Treaty emphasises "the social significance of sport, in particular its role in forging identity and bringing people together" and the EU institutions along many NGOs now emphasise the role of sports as a tool for social integration and fighting intolerance.

European Year of Education through Sport (archived)

The aim of the European Year of Education through Sport (EYES) 2004 was to raise awareness about the potentially beneficial links between education and sport.

Sports policy in the EU – introduction

The EU has no direct competence in sport, but a European sports policy is slowly emerging.


Life Tackle

Life Programme

LIFE TACKLE is co-funded by the LIFE Environmental Governance and Information Programme of the European Union - Project Number LIFE17 GIE/IT/000611