EU Sport Forum in Malta discussed future of grassroots sport in Europe
EU Sport Forum, organised by the European Commission and hosted by the Maltese Presidency, took place in St. Jualian’s, Malta on 8-9 March 2017. This year the topics of the first day included e.g. discussions on inclusive communities through volunteering in sport, antidoping, green events and fight against gender based violence in sport. Second day contained two big panel discussions – first on good governance in sport, and second one with the participation of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics on grassroots sport. Susanne Erlandsson, Vice-President of Swedish Sports Confederation, was one of the panelists in the grassroots sport discussion raising examples on the grassroots sport activities in Sweden. In her comments, she highlighted that it is important that sport clubs also offer non-competitive activities. This makes sport clubs more inclusive, but also helps the sport clubs to attract more members. This idea is included in the Swedish Sports Confederations' Strategy 2025, which is adopted by the member federations.
Follow-up of High Level Group on Grassroots Sport is needed
ENGSO was represented in the event by President Carlos Cardoso and Policy Director Heidi Pekkola. On the first day of the Forum, Heidi Pekkola contributed to the programme at the plenary session on discussing the follow-up of two High Level Groups which finished their work in June 2016. In her comments she raised the importance to implement the recommendations of the High Level Group on Grassroots Sport, and use the momentum to improve the conditions for grassroots sport in Europe. She for instance urged the Member States to take this onboard in the new EU Work Plan 2017-2020, as well as highlighted the importance to allow tax exemptions for sport clubs at grassroots level.
Annual EU Sport Forum is considered to be the main event for structured dialogue between sport stakeholders and European institutions, and it gathered together around 350 participants.