With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for sportspeople.
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While responsibility for sports policy lies primarily with national governments and sports organisations, decisions taken by the EU institutions can have a major impact on your career as a professional sportsperson, helping to change rules that are detrimental to you. The best-known case is the European Court of Justice’s ‘Bosman ruling’, which eliminated transfer fees for footballers whose contracts had ended and banned restrictions on foreign EU players signed by European clubs. Another example is the decision by the European Commission against the severe penalties imposed by the International Skating Union on athletes participating in competitions not approved by the federation.
The EU, which has a dedicated budget line for sport under the Erasmus+ programme, also finances numerous projects that can support you and improve your training and working conditions. Examples include initiatives to enhance the well-being of young athletes; help sportspeople combine their sporting careers with work or education; promote quality coaching; raise youth awareness on the dangers of doping; or improve the governance of sports organisations.
Raising the number of sports enthusiasts is a priority for the EU, given the positive health effects of physical activity. The European Week of Sport, held every September across Europe, aims to engage more Europeans, from children to pensioners, in sports and physical exercise. Your own discipline might well be in the spotlight on that occasion, as part of the general bid to persuade more people to get involved.
- European Commission’s website on sport, https://ec.europa.eu/sport/
- EPRS publication on EU sport policy, 2015, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2015/565908/EPRS_IDA(2015)565908_EN.pdf
- European Week of Sport, https://ec.europa.eu/sport/week_en