Towards a European Week of Sport

Towards a European Week of Sport

Following a request from the Council in 2012, the European Commission intends to organise an annual European Week of Sport (EWoS) that would promote participation in sport and physical activity throughout Europe. The first EWoS should take place in 2015.
As part of the consultation process with governmental and non-governmental key stakeholders, a seminar gathering few organisations considered as relevant to be involved in the preparation and implementation of such an event, was organised in Brussels on the 20th of November 2013.
Chaired by Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the Sport Unit, the seminar allowed the Commission to gather stakeholders’ views and ideas on such a Week and to identify existing good practices.

Some key elements were brought to the concept and can be already highlighted:

  • Wish to build upon successful initiatives.

Indeed national campaigns lead by the French NOC (“Sentez-vous sport”) as well as the Dutch NOC (“Dutch National Sport Week”) but also the European campaign lead by ISCA (“MOVE Week”) were introduced.

Furthermore initiatives lead by the European Commission in other fields were also presented. Staff from the Sport Unit explained that they are engaged in thorough discussion with their colleagues and coordinators of the European Youth and Mobility Weeks in order to learn from their experiences.
Last but not least, representative from the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) from the Council of Europe, suggested to work together on the basis of what is done for the “European Heritage Day” in order to ensure a greater visibility for the event.

  • Will and need to collaborate and develop synergies.

It was emphasised by all stakeholders that the week, while building upon the organisation and strength of the sport movement, should go beyond the world of sport stricto sensu to reach its goal (ie “a European Week of Sport that would promote participation in sport and physical activity throughout Europe).

Contribution from stakeholders as diverse as ACES (Association des Capitales Européennes du Sport), TAFISA (The Association For International Sport for All), EFCS (European Federation for Company Sport), ENGSO (European non-governmental sports organisation), ECF (European Cyclist Federation), Eurosport, EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and the FESI (Federation of the European Sporting goods Industry) also emphasised this common will to seize the opportunity offered by the EWoS and to form a broad alliance aiming at tackling physical inactivity epidemic.

  • Need for flexibility under one banner/voice.

The EWoS shall not only be a top-down approach but also a bottom-up approach allowing citizens and local stakeholders to be involved.
The issue of the branding of the event was well summarized by Zenon Severis, Cabinet of Mrs Vassiliou, who clearly stated that it goes far beyond than a title debate for it should be sexy enough for citizens and stakeholders to take part and therefore allow the two main pillars of the concept, the sport movement and the grassroots physical activity/mobility movement to work together.
EOSE was represented by Carole Ponchon (PR & Project Manager) who stressed out that, considering all the stakeholders’ contributions, it could be of interest to consider the general motto of this week to be “THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL”, therefore emphasising the will to act under a common European voice while giving room enough for innovative, adapted and spontaneous actions at local level.

She also highlighted that the added-value of such a week would indeed be to stress the European dimension of sport and therefore to focus on exchanges. If the goal is to reach inactive people, no doubt that nurturing exchanges between generations of volunteers (who are the backbone of the sport sector) as well as intercultural exchanges on practices would allow Sport&Move agents/ambassadors/hero in charge of coordinating activities to be more innovative. Whether these exchanges will happen during the week (for example through cross-border events) and/or in preparation (through learning mobility opportunities), this would be a key of success to ensure that the week will not only be a collection of events happening in Europe but a true and vibrant celebration and experience of the feeling of living together.

While the consultation process is still going on, it is now in the end of the Sport Unit, and especially of the newly appointed Deputy Head of Unit, Mrs Suzanne Hollmann, to work on defining further the concept with the aim to officially introduce it during a special conference on the 11th of June 2014.

EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

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