Education Youth Culture and Sport Council adopts position on anti-doping, match-fixing and dual career
Ministers were briefed by the Presidency on the outcome of the recent World Anti-Doping Agency meetings in Montreal (11-12 May 2013). In this context, the Council held a policy debate on the role of public authorities in combating doping in sport, with the participation of the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart. The Council also adopted conclusions on dual careers for athletes. Furthermore, the Council issued, without debate, a new recommendation to Cyprus on action to reduce its deficit below 3 % of GDP.
Convention of the Council of Europe to combat the manipulation of sports results
Ministers took note of information from the Presidency on the state of play regarding the recommendation for a decision authorising the European Commission to participate, on behalf of the EU, in the negotiations for an international convention of the Council of Europe to combatthe manipulation of sports results, with the exception of matters related to cooperation in criminal matters and police cooperation, which will be addressed in a separate decision.
The future Convention has three different and distinct aspects, namely the sport aspect, the gambling and betting aspect and the corruption aspect. The gambling and betting aspect is linked to the internal market freedoms, in particular the freedom to provide services and the right of establishment in cases where sport betting directly relates to the manipulation of sports results, which poses some problems concerning the appropriate legal basis.
As the negotiations will cover matters which fall partly within the Union’s competence and partly within that of the member states, the Union should participate in these negotiations together with its member states.
Dual careers for athletes
The Council adopted conclusions on dual careers for athletes, which include guidelines to develop and improve conditions for successfully combining sporting careers with education or work, establishing specific arrangements for talented and elite athletes throughout Europe. In particular, the conclusions
- encourage cooperation between Member States, educational institutions and relevant stakeholders and sports organisations;
- recommend the exchange of good practices and experience with dual careers amongMember States;
- promote the establishment of flexible academic cycles and adapted learning pathways for athletes so that they can combine their sporting activities with education;
- recognise that sports organisations should also develop and implement dual career services for talented or elite athletes;
- invite the Commission, on the basis of the EU Guidelines on Dual Careers for Athletes, to explore appropriate follow-up on this important issue, possibly in the framework of the second Work Plan for Sport.
The Commission recalled that the promotion of dual careers for athletes responds to several goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy (prevention of early school leaving, increasing graduates in higher education, higher employability), but these kinds of arrangement are relatively recent in the majority of member states and sports. Although a large number of specifications and regulations related to talented and elite sportspeople exist in a number of member states, most of them are fragmented or focused only on certain aspects.
The Council was briefed by the Presidency on the outcome of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meetings that took place in Montreal on 11 and 12 May 2013. The main subjects of thediscussion were:
- the ongoing Code review (most of the EU points were accepted, mainly concerning):
- –Longer periods of ineligibility for real cheats and more flexibility in sanctioning in other specific circumstances;
- –Consideration of the principles of proportionality and human rights;
- –Assistance with the increasing number of investigations in the fight against doping.
- budget and legislative issues;
- the report on the lack of effectiveness of testing programmes, addressed to the WADA Foundation Board, including a number of recommendations and suggestions on improvements to testing programmes. The Code Drafting Team took due note of the recommendations and incorporated many of them within the drafts provided at the meetings. A significant amount of work in response to the report has already been undertaken.