23 Sep 2012

The EU Sport Forum took place in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 19-20 September, to accompany the Mediterranean island’s European presidency. Attended by Commissioner for Sport Androulla Vassiliou and several member states’ sports ministers, the Forum produced a declaration on the fight against match-fixing, among other topics, including the contribution of sport to the EU economy, future EU funding for grass-roots sport, and the promotion of physical activity and active ageing.

"Sport is an important part of life for millions of people in Europe. I am committed to promoting sport and physical activity for all ages. An active lifestyle is key to our health and well-being. Unfortunately, sport also faces many challenges today. Funding at EU level can help to address issues with cross-border repercussions such as match-fixing, sport-related violence, intolerance and gender inequality,” said Mrs Vassiliou.

The European Commission, which organised the Forum, also revealed the sporting budget in the 2014-20 Multiannual Financial Framework. Since sport became a competency of the EC in 2007 the Sport Unit’s budget has been relatively small, but is set to increase around ten-fold to an average of €34 million a year in the new six-year cycle.

In addition, the Erasmus for All programme, designed to support education, training, youth and sport, has been awarded an expanded sporting chapter from 2014. Support will be given to transnational projects aimed at boosting the exchange of know-how and good practices, non-commercial European sport events of major importance.

RLEF General Manager attended the Forum for the second successive year, presenting the progress of the RLEF’s Governance Foundation Project, funded by the EC, to Commissioner Vassiliou in person on 20 September and engaging in a workshop on governance, a topic that plays a central role in the RLEF’s work to produce a sustainable series of rugby league NGBs in Europe.

“It was a really interesting couple of days,” said Kazandjian. “Undoubtedly, increasing our European Commission dimension is vital and the Forum provided a wonderful opportunity to interact with other European organisations and listen to key decision-makers in the EC.”