The European Parliament Sports report voted in Brussels today proposes concrete actions for the European Commission and the Member States within three broad chapters: the societal role of sport, the economic dimension of sport and the organisation of sport.

This is the first report on sport since the Lisbon Treaty which gives the EU a new competence for sport.

As the ALDE negotiator on this Report, Liam Aylward, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Education, Culture and Sport was successful in extending the focus of the Report on volunteering and its important and positive role in strengthening culture, promoting social inclusion and enhancing local communities.

“I am pleased that the final document is one that clearly demonstrates how EU actions can contribute to the promotion of sporting issues and the development of a European dimension in sport.”

“This is a Report that provides us with a strong framework to create a European Sports Policy that is based on social inclusion and enhancing sport in Europe for athletes, trainers, coaches, volunteers and supporters alike.”

“Sport is the vehicle that delivers on the EU’s broader aims across several policy areas, such as community development, active aging and healthy and active living. It has a successful economic dimension and it is a social phenomenon that delivers an invaluable public good.”

During the drafting and negotiation process for this Report the Ireland East MEP met with Ireland’s major sporting organisations, the GAA, IRFU, IFA, Special Olympics Ireland and the Sports Council among others and worked to include their recommendations on supporting volunteers and training and education for coaches into the final document.

As a result one of the key aspects of the Report was the emphasis on education and training in sport.

“EU sports policy needs to have a broad approach. We must consider the importance of dual sport and career training by facilitating access to general educational or vocational training alongside the athletes’ sport training. It is also important to the future development of sport that coaches have access to the best training techniques and education on best practice.”

“My recommendation for a Coaching Qualifications Framework was widely supported in the Parliament and I will continue to put pressure on the Commission to ensure this important proposal is followed up on and features in future policy documents.”

The Ireland East MEP also secured a recommendation for a budget allocation with specific provisions for sporting organisations who work with people with disabilities:

“Funding for an EU Sports policy which is focused on supporting grass roots and amateur organisations would be money well spent and money which would deliver immediate and measurable results.”

The Report also stresses the need for improved European coordination in the fight against doping and believes that the accession of the EU Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe necessary.

The European Parliament’s Report responds to the European Commission Communication ‘Developing the European Dimension in Sport’, from January 2011, which sets out the Commission’s ideas for EU-level action in the field of sport.