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EOC President Capralos addresses EU Sport Forum 2022

EOC President Spyros Capralos featured on a panel of sport leaders on the opening day of the EU Sport Forum 2022, which is being held in Lille, France under the theme of “European Sport: fair, inclusive and fit for a sustainable future.”

President Capralos addressed a wide range of topics, including the role of sport in Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the solidarity and support of the European sports movement to Ukraine, sports role in tackling climate change, and the importance of protecting and promoting the European Sport Model.

The EU Sport Forum is an annual event organised by the European Commission in support of the continuous dialogue with the European and international sport community. It is a central meeting point between sport organisations, representatives of the EU Institutions and Member States exchanging views on the current and future sport policies.

Speaking about the impact of global crises such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, President Capralos said, “These crisis have brought and will bring more uncertainty. As sports events organisers, and the custodians of the Olympic values in Europe, it is crucial that we react quickly to unforeseen events. COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have showed that everything can change in one day and this brings great challenges for sport. However, these crisis have also shown how important sport is for society, with athletes and sports organisations acting as role models, uniting people and bringing joy and hope in difficult times. The EOC is very proud of how the European Olympic Movement reacted to both these crises, but much work lies ahead.”

Discussing the role sport has to play in tackling climate change, President Capralos said, “We all realise climate change has and will continue to have a real impact on sport and that we need to act as a collective. The EOC is currently preparing its Strategic Agenda 2030, in which sustainability is a main priority, in line with the IOC’s Agenda 2020+5. Our EYOFs 2022 in Vuokatti and the summer edition that will take place in Banska Bystrica in July, have a comprehensive sustainability concept, and this must be the case for all major event organisers.

On the topic of the European Sport Model, President Capralos stated, “We cannot ignore that the commercialisation of sport brings opportunities for sport organisations and for sport in general to develop, thanks to new opportunities for revenues. However, it is clear that it cannot happen at the expense of the values-based sport. The EOC, in collaboration with the IOC, is fighting continuously for the safeguarding of the European Sport Model and its values. First, we need to make sure that sport federations keep the governing role of their sport. The second key principle is to ensure the autonomy of sport and compliance with national and EU laws. And thirdly, we need to work hard to safeguard the importance of solidarity schemes for smaller federations and athletes of less popular sports.”

The two-day EU Sport Forum concludes today, 17 June 2022.