Stakeholders from all over Europe gathered in Malta to discuss and shape the future of sport

 
Stakeholders from all over Europe gathered in Malta to discuss and shape the future of sport

From the 8th to the 13th of March 2017, European institutions and sport stakeholders from all ages and background gathered in Malta to discuss and imagine the future of sport in Europe as part of two major events for the sector.
With the support of Sport Malta, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission organised the EU Sport Forum in St Julian’s, Malta, on the 8th and 9th of March 2017.

As set out in the 2007 Commission White Paper on Sport (which provided a comprehensive vision for sport at EU level), the Forum is meant to be the main platform for structured dialogue between the European institutions and sport stakeholders.
The variety of stakeholders -leading representatives from European institutions, international and European sport federations, the Olympic movement, European and national sport umbrella organisations and other sport-related organisations- together with the participation of Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, clearly demonstrated the strong commitment and expectations of and from the sector at European level.

As the largest gathering of sport stakeholders in Europe, the 2-day event gathered over 350 participants to cover many topics of interest for European sport including:

  • grassroots sport
  • good governance
  • volunteering
  • follow-up of the high-level groups on sport diplomacy and grassroots sport
  • doping
  • innovation
  • contribution to growth and jobs
  • e-sports
  • gender-based violence.Thierry Zintz_panel

EOSE was represented by Aurélien Favre, Executive Director and Stephen Studd, Director of Development who attended the

Forum as participants. Furthermore, EOSE President, Thierry Zintz, was invited to the Forum as a guest speaker during the panel session on the contribution of sport to growth and jobs.

Thierry especially pointed out the importance of skills development if the sort is to fulfil its potential: “The focus of EOSE is on skills. We believe that the skills of the people who work or volunteer in sport are crucial to encouraging and supporting people to be active. You need the knowledge and skills, to engage with new people, to provide instruction, to coach, to motivate, to support and to advise on healthy lifestyles. People must trust the organisations offering sport and they must trust the people employed to deliver our services. From good governance to quality and inclusive coaching and instruction- a properly skilled AND qualified workforce of the paid and the volunteer is essential.

7steps-animation

He also showcased what kind of perspectives EOSE is trying to bring to the sector through the use of the lifelong learning methodology: “To ensure this, it is important we create ensure we have training and qualifications base on a proper understanding of what is expected of our people – over the course of our 14 years of project activity we have worked with partners in the sector to develop and implement our 7 Step Model”.

Last but not least he called the participants to join action: “I believe we are at the start of this journey. We all know the value and potential of sport. But how do we make these changes more obvious? How do we measure the change and how can it be recognised as people try to have their skills recognised and transferred to other contexts in formal education or employment. Even for those working or volunteering in sport, it is often the case that their qualifications are undervalued by others. I believe the lead must be taken by a new collaborative approach across the sector supported by national governments and the EU. We hope our new Sector Skills Alliance which is based on a network of national stakeholder partnerships can come to provide an encouragement to a new level of cooperation and action on these issues.

 

As soon as the European Sport Forum went to an end, it was time for the European Youth Sport Forum (EYSF) to rise up. The event indeed took place in Malta between the 10th and the 13th of March and was organised by SportMalta in collaboration with ENGSO Youth (for which Carole Ponchon, EOSE PR and Projects Manager is a Delegate) and was officially part of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of Europe

For the 8th Edition of the EYSF, over 120 youth sport leaders from all member states were invited to share their ideas and their knowledge.
The event was opened by Chris Agius (Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sports), Mark Cutajar (CEO of SportMalta), Yves Le Lostecque (Head of Sport Unit at the European Commission), Luciano Musuttil (Chair of SportMalta) and Nevena Vukasinovic (Secretary General of ENGSO Youth).

Throughout the Forum, following plenary presentation and workshop activities, the participants developed a set of recommendations and actions which form the Pink Paper on the topics of social inclusion and volunteering, healthy lifestyle, and sport diplomacy – topics formally identified as the key priorities in the frame of the Maltese presidency. Simone Digennaro_EYSF2017Participants also attended a debate on sport as a means of diplomacy in the Maltese House of Parliament, led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Anglu Farrugia, with attendance of key members of the parliament.

As anticipated, the EYSF 2017 proved to be a true success and EOSE was delighted to be represented by Simone Digennaro who provided an engaging and inspiring lector on “healthy lifestyle challenge” and took the opportunity of Day2 Networking session to exchange a lot with participants as regard EOSE’s work and approach. Simone pointed it out “the necessity to start a cultural revolution in which active movement is recognized as a right for everyone. Policy must focus on the promotion of active movement as a key  determinant for the quality of life of every EU citizen. City must be reshape taking into account the freedom of everyone, especially those that are most in need, to use the body in accordance with individual needs and capacity.”

We asked him what he learned during the EYSF and his testimony is a very strong  one full of promises: “What I’ve learned? That if you want to start a revolution, you need to have people who “move”; and if you can engage more people that is a “movement”; and if the movement is strong enough, that’s in best best sense of the word, a revolution.  I’ve seen in the Forum the seed for a radical change both of the sport sector and the society in general.”


From EOSE point of view, these two Forums will undoubtedly soon be recognised as a milestone in forging a renewed EU policy of sport. It was indeed a tremendous chance to meet, discuss and exchange with various organisations on the realities, priorities and challenges of the sector, but also to explore any potential opportunities of collaborations and synergies with these stakeholders.

 

 

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EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

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