8 The European Union and Sport |
+ ADDs 1-3
|Commission Communication: Developing the European Dimension in Sport |
|Document originated||18 January 2011
|Deposited in Parliament||27 January 2011
|Department||Culture, Media and Sport
|Basis of consideration||Opinion from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
|Previous Committee Report||HC 428-xx (2010-11), chapter 2 (16 March 2011)
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
Background and previous scrutiny
8.1 The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December
2009, established a specific new legal base enabling the EU to
"contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues,
while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures
based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function"
(Article 165(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union the TFEU). EU action is limited to the adoption
of non-legislative "incentive measures" or Council Recommendations.
Article 165(2) TFEU further provides that EU action shall be aimed
"developing the European dimension in sport,
by promoting fairness and openness in sporting competitions and
cooperation between bodies responsible for sports, and by protecting
the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen,
especially the youngest sportsmen and sportswomen."
8.2 Article 165(3) TFEU encourages the EU and
Member States to foster cooperation with third countries and with
competent international organisations in the field of sport, especially
the Council of Europe.
8.3 The Communication is the first policy document
issued by the Commission since the introduction of a specific
new legal base and EU competence in sport. It proposes a range
of measures to be taken forward by the Commission, by itself or
in cooperation with Member States, under the following headings:
- the Societal Role of Sport
this highlights how sport can break down social barriers
and promote social inclusion, healthy living, education and training,
but also proposes action to counter racism, xenophobia and homophobia
in sport and to combat doping;
- the Economic Dimension of Sport
this focuses on the contribution sport can make to economic
growth and employment;
- the Organisation of Sport this
considers issues relating to the governance and integrity of sport,
and the impact of EU competition and free movement rules on the
player transfer market and on mobility; and
- International Cooperation
this emphasises the need to strengthen links with non-EU
countries and international organisations, notably the Council
8.4 A more detailed description of the measures
proposed in the Commission Communication, and the Government's
view, is contained in our 22nd Report.
8.5 We considered that the introduction of a
specific new legal base on sport in Article 165 TFEU carried with
it the risk of an extension of EU competence and activity in a
field which hitherto has been seen as the primary responsibility
of national sports governing bodies and Member States. We thought
that this risk had been mitigated by the limited scope for EU
action based solely on Article 165 TFEU, which only contemplates
the adoption of incentive measures and non-binding Council Recommendations
and precludes the harmonisation of national laws. However, we
also thought it appropriate to seek the Opinion of the Culture,
Media and Sport Committee since it had conducted an inquiry and
produced a Report on a Commission White Paper on Sport published
The Opinion of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
8.6 The Chairman (Mr John Whittingdale) notes
that the Committee was critical of the Commission's 2007 White
Paper on Sport because, at that time, the EU Treaties did not
include a specific legal base for action on sport at EU level.
The Committee stated then:
"The Government should hold the Commissioner
to his assurances that the White Paper proposes neither regulation,
harmonisation nor integration, and we believe that it is essential
that national governing bodies of sport continue to have the freedom
to decide for themselves how their sports should be run.
"If the EU is to have a role in sport, it should
be to identify possibilities for fruitful action by Member States,
to be taken at their discretion. The limitations of that role
should be acknowledged openly by Member States and EU institutions
alike, as a guard against any sign of creeping regulation by EU
institutions in the future."
8.7 However, the Chairman says that the Committee's
concerns have been assuaged by the introduction of a new legal
base for sport, because Article 165 TFEU "is relatively limited
in scope." He continues:
"In broad terms, therefore, I agree with the
Government's positive assessment of the Commission Communication.
Like the Minister, I would emphasise the need for any action at
European level to focus on adding value whilst respecting the
autonomy of sport governing structures and the principle of subsidiarity.
The areas identified by the Commission for European action seem
sensible and many of them chime with the Committee's own work,
particularly doping; violence and intolerance linked to sporting
events; the protection of intellectual property rights arising
from the coverage of sport; and best practice on good governance
"Sport is an essential part of Europe's economy
and efforts must be made to ensure that its health is maintained.
In most areas this is best done through sporting institutions
or at a national level. There are some areas, though, in which
cooperation at a European level can add value and providing
that the Commission does not seek to overreach the legal base
provided to it by Article 165 the Committee is satisfied
with the proposals contained within the Communication."
8.8 We thank the Committee for its Opinion.
We agree on the need for vigilance to ensure that any action at
EU level in the field of sport fully respects the principle of
subsidiarity and the limitations on EU competence set out in Article
165 TFEU. We are content to clear the Communication from scrutiny
but shall keep a close eye on future developments.
42 See HC 428-xx (2010-11), chapter 2 (16 March 2011). Back