States who breach human rights should not host major sporting events, MEPs say

Report on Europe’s sporting landscape advances strong declaration of strong opposition to breakaway competitions like the maligned European Super League

MEPs will be voting on a report on European sports culture that expressed strong opposition to breakaway competitions like the maligned European Super League for undermining the value of fairness.

The report was adopted by the EP’s committee on culture and education by 29 votes to one, and one abstention, and will be voted by the plenary in November.
“We need more EU policy involvement in sports and more sports funding. Our main task as MEPs is to enhance and protect a values-based sporting model in Europe for the next generation,” said Polish MEP Tomasz Frankowski (EPP).

“We have to work together against the forces that threaten this model and seek to undermine it with a pure profit-based vision of sport. That is why we are against a closed Super League of elite clubs in European football. Sport is a right for everyone. That is something that all of European sport must always stand for.”

Indeed the report will call for countries whose governments repeatedly violate fundamental rights and values to no longer be able to host major sporting events. “Member states and sports federations should also take into account human rights and democracy when choosing sponsors for sporting events,” the report says.

The report calls on the EU to shape the European sports culture in accordance with EU values of solidarity, sustainability, inclusiveness, open competition, and fairness.

MEPs also express strong opposition to “breakaway competitions that undermine these standards and endanger the stability of the overall sports ecosystem”.

They are asking for a balance to be struck between professional sport’s commercial interests with its social functions, to be achieved by strengthening links between the grassroots level and elite sport.

For instance, sports federations should establish a solidarity mechanism to channel funds into amateur and grassroots sport.

MEPs also want to tackle gender inequality in sports, in particular when it comes to pay and equal representation on the boards of sports organisations, and want European media to ensure more equal coverage of men’s and women’s sporting events.

The report also recommends more transparency in the player transfer markets via an EU framework for player transfers that includes EU labour market standards and financial regulations; and to use the German football club ownership “50+1” rule where private investors are only allowed to own up to 49% of the shares, as a best practice for other countries.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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