Meeting between Rogge and Figel’ on European Council Declaration
Representatives of the Olympic Movement, led by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, today met with Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, and his delegation at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. The meeting came as a follow-up on the action points specified in the recent European Council Declaration on Sport, which was presented in the Conclusions of the French Presidency of the European Union (EU) in mid-December 2008. In the Declaration, the heads of state call on the European Commission to strengthen its dialogue with the IOC, besides underlining the values of sport and its specific characteristics above its economic dimension. The promotion of the autonomy of the Olympic and Sports Movement as well as the protection of the integrity and fairness of the competitions has been high on the IOC’s agenda over the years.
Topics of today’s discussions included:
- the specificity and autonomy of sport,
- the financing of sport and betting,
- the application of EU competition law and of free movement principles in the field of sport,
- and the fight against doping.
During the meeting, Ján Figel’ confirmed his respect for the autonomous and self-regulatory character of sports organisations. He also recognised that sport is organised internationally and built on a worldwide pyramid system, which was to be considered in the future dialogue between the EU and the sports world. The Olympic Movement representatives stressed the need to safeguard the existing mechanisms of financial solidarity towards grassroots sport – a principle for which the European Commissioner expressed his full support. Looking into the future, Figel’ stated that his team is currently preparing for the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, which still has to be ratified and contains a reference to sport. He considered the Olympic Movement’s input as crucial in that regard.
After the meeting, the IOC President said: “The EU benefits from sport and its values. Organised sport is one of the biggest social movements in society, and its social, educational and health-promoting role is significant. At the same time sports organisations also need the support of the EU to tackle challenges like doping, irregular betting, racism and violence and to safeguard the specificity of sports structures and sporting rules. It is vital that we work closer together to tap the full potential of sport, and today’s meeting was an important step.”
Commissioner Figel’ said: “I am pleased that the profile of sport has increased in the minds of government policy makers and stakeholders. Last November’s informal Sports Ministerial Meeting and EU Sport Forum gave sports an additional strong boost, and it is important that we maintain this momentum. There are important issues at stake. That is why we in the Commission welcome the new approach of having a regular, structured dialogue with the IOC. Today’s meeting is a tangible outcome of the new approach. ”
List of participants in the meeting:
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth
Bernd Biervert, Member of the Cabinet of Ján Figel’
Pierre Mairesse, Director of Sport
Michal Krejza, Head of the Sport Unit
Jacques Rogge, IOC President
Mario Pescante, IOC Executive Board member and Chairman of the IOC International Relations Commission
Patrick Hickey, IOC member and EOC President
Joseph S. Blatter, IOC member and FIFA President
Jérôme Champagne, FIFA Director of International Relations
Marco Villiger, FIFA Legal Director
Denis Oswald, IOC member and ASOIF President
René Fasel, IOC Executive Board member and AIOWF President
Patrick Baumann, IOC member and GAISF representative
Guy Drut, IOC member
Henri Sérandour, CNOSF President
Yves Vonlanthen, IIHF Administration and Legal Manager
Jean-Paul Clémençon, CNOSF Chief of Staff
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