Ján Figel', the European Commissioner in charge of sport, met today with representatives of the Olympic movement, led by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Mr Jacques Rogge.
This was the second meeting of its kind after a similar meeting organised in Lausanne on 26 January 2009, where Commissioner Figel' and representatives of the Olympic movement discussed issues such as the specificity and autonomy of sport, the financing of sport and related issues such as betting, the application of EU competition law and of free movement principles in the field of sport, and the fight against doping.
Both meetings can be seen as follow-up to the European Council Declaration on Sport of 11-12 December 2008. In the Declaration, EU Heads of State and Government welcomed the establishment of a constructive dialogue with sport organisations at the first EU Sport Forum organised by the European Commission in November 2008 and called for the strengthening of that dialogue with the International Olympic Committee and representatives of the world of sport.
Today's meeting allowed for an exchange of views on a number of topics currently on the EU agenda for sport which are of interest to international sport stakeholders and notably the Olympic movement. The list of topics discussed included:
The financing of sport, with particular regard for the issue of sport betting rights and fair return to sport;
The fight against doping and the results of the recent EU Conference on Anti-Doping in Athens;
The implementation of the White Paper on Sport and the launch of a Preparatory Action in the field of sport financed from this year's EU budget;
Work to be launched in the area of combined education and sports training for high-level sportspeople ("dual careers");
The continued structured dialogue with the sport movement, in view of the next EU Sport Forum to be held in April 2010 and of the possible entry into force of the sport provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.
After the meeting, Commissioner Figel' said that "the positive spirit of cooperation created in Lausanne at the beginning of the year continues to shape the dialogue between the Commission and the sport movement. The Commission is very supportive of having a regular exchange of views on EU-related topics with the IOC and other international stakeholders."
IOC President Rogge said the meeting "reaffirmed the benefits of closer cooperation between the IOC and the European Commission. Organised sport has a unique and important role in society. By working together, we can improve our ability to bring the benefits of sport to the European Union and find more effective ways to combat doping, illegal betting and other threats to sport."