03 Dec 2020

EOC Acting President Nygaard stressed importance of solidarity in post-coronavirus era at EU Sport Ministers Council

Categories: EOC · EU

3 December 2020

EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard emphasized the importance of solidarity in the post-coronavirus world at the Council of the EU Sport Ministers, which was held by video conference on 1 December 2020.

Ministers discussed the challenges faced in organising international sporting events in different Member States during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether an increased exchange at EU level is needed.

In his address Nygaard delivered an overview of the consequences of the pandemic and associated restrictions for the three main actors that are part of the European sport model: sport organisations, athletes and clubs.

“It is important to underline that the postponement of the Olympic Games has a huge impact on all actors involved. That relates not only to economic consequences but also to the individual life planning of athletes,” Nygaard said.

Ministers agreed that athletes, sports organisations and federations have suffered substantial losses due to decreased sponsorship revenues, empty stadiums and costs related to testing and the implementation of health-related protocols.

Quoting IOC President Thomas Bach’s message during the high-level EU sport conference on COVID-19, Nygaard underscored the need of solidarity for guaranteeing and safeguarding the future of the sport sector in Europe after the COVID-19 crisis.

“Sport can only make its contribution to society if its solidarity-based model of sport is recognised and supported by the public authorities and by the EU member states,” he said.

“This is why we need to strengthen the European Sport Model, its values and its solidarity funding mechanisms to ensure that this model will also be in place after this crisis allowing people to participate in sport with low cost also at grassroots level.”

While praising the great social significance of sport by bringing people together and contributing to the inclusion and integration of people, he also highlighted its economic impact in the EU (more than 2% to the GDP), which is bigger than other more traditional sectors.

Nygaard concluded his speech by thanking the Ministers for including sport into the different future EU funding programmes and recovery mechanisms and urged them to ensure funds are implemented both at national and regional level.

“I’m pleased to see that this topic is included in the future EU Work Plan and look forward to the future exchanges with you to further strengthening the model,” said.

If you want to read more about the EU Sport Ministers Council video conference click here.