Speaking today following the European Parliament Committee on Education, Culture and Sport vote on the Sports Report, Liam Aylward MEP welcomed the backing of the Committee for his proposals on prioritising EU level support for people with intellectual or physical disabilities and calling for a share of the budget to support the work in this sector.
“I am pleased that my text calling on the European Commission to allocate funding to support organisations that deliver sporting activities for persons with intellectual or physical disabilities across the EU has been supported by my colleagues across the political groups. I will be hosting an event in the European Parliament later this month in conjunction with Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia on the role of Special Olympics in promoting social inclusion and this Report has put social inclusion at the heart of EU sports policy”.
“There is a lot of good will towards Special Olympics and strong position of the Committee will put pressure on the European Commission to back up their talk on social inclusion with real support.”
The Report on the “European Dimension in Sport” is the first EU report on sport following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty which gives the EU responsibility for Sport as a policy area.
“It was disappointing that no budget was allocated to sport under the EU Financial Framework however there are many recommendations in this Report that will be of benefit to the sporting organisations that work with the grassroots, amateur sportspeople and volunteers.”
Supporting the important role of volunteers was a key issue for the Ireland East MEP in this Report and the Committee has recommended a number of important measures relating to training, structured support for volunteers and supporting traditional and amateur sports.
One particular recommendation from the Ireland East MEP was that a formal pan-EU qualification be established for coaches and linked in with the Qualifications Framework. Speaking on this recommendation he stated:
“Coaches have a key role to play in delivering on the wider benefits of sport in terms of increasing social inclusion, keeping grassroots sports alive, bringing the health benefits of sport to young people as well as bringing athletes on in their careers and enjoyment of sport.”
The Report will be debated and voted upon by the full European Parliament during the December Plenary Session in Strasbourg.