The European Sports Charter

What is the European Sports Charter?

The European Sports Charter was first established in 1992 and has been revised again in 2001. It is a piece of European Union legislation which provides recommendations upon European Union Member States.

Why is there need to have a European Sports Charter?

Sport is a social and cultural activity which is based upon voluntary choice encouraging contacts between European countries and citizens. Consequently it plays a fundamental role in the realisation of the aim of the Council of Europe as it reinforces the bonds between European citizens and develops awareness of a European cultural identity.

Sport is a huge part of the identity of Europe and so therefore it is fundamental for the European Union to protect that.

Within Europe Sport is an extremely valuable tool as it can make huge contributions to both personal and social development through creative activities, recreational pursuits and the continuous search for improving sporting performance. Physical exercise both helps and promotes the physical and mental well-being of individuals.

Since the formation of the European Union there has been many political, economic, social and other changes and due to the rapid pace of these changes and their impact upon sport within the European Union it was felt that a sports charter was necessary to reflect those changes and to face up to new challenges.

What is the aim of the European Sports Charter?

The two main aims of the European Sports Charter are as follows:

1. To enable every individual to participate in sport, by the following:

  • Ensuring all young people have the opportunity to receive physical education and instruction and the opportunity to acquire basic sports skills

  • To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take part in sport and physical recreation in a safe and healthy environment

  • To ensure that everyone with interest and ability in a particular sport should have the opportunity to improve their standard of performance in sport and reach high levels of achievement

2. To protect and develop the moral and ethical base of sport and human dignity and safety of those involved in sport by safeguarding sport, sportsmen and women from exploitation for political, commercial and financial gain and from practices that are abusive such as drugs and sexual harassment and abuse.    

What recommendations does the European Sports Charter make?

The European Sports Charter makes the following recommendations upon the Governments of European Union Member States:

  • To base their national policies for sport, and, when appropriate any relevant legislation, on the European Sports Charter

    To invite their national sports organisations to take account of principles set out in the European Sports Charter

What does the European Sports Charter provide for?

The European Sports Charter makes recommendations to sports policy in relation to the following areas:

  • The Sports Movement

  • Facilities and Activities

  • Building the Foundation

  • Developing Participation

  • Improving Performance

  • Supporting Top Level and Professional Sport

  • Sport and Sustainable Development

  • Domestic and International Cooperation

The Sports Movement

The Sports movement is aimed at achieving full cooperation between non-governmental sports associations and the Government of the European Union Member State. Of particular importance in this area are voluntary sports associations which under the terms of the charter should be able to make decisions on their own which are respected by both government and sports associations.

Facilities and Activities

There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national of social origin, associated with a national minority, property, birth or other status in relation to access to sports facilities or to sports activities.

Measures must be adopted to ensure that all citizens of the European Union Member State which has subscribed to the charter have access to sport and sporting facilities.

Developing the Foundation

Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that young people are encouraged to take part in sport. This can be achieved, but is not limited to, the following techniques:

  • By ensuring pupils have appropriate physical education

  • By ensuring teachers are adequately trained in physical education

  • By ensuring that appropriate opportunities exist after compulsory education

  • By encouraging links between schools and sports clubs

Developing Participation

All sport whether it is professional or amateur must be promoted within each Member State in order to encourage participation.

Improving Performance

Performance of sport at the highest level must be improved by cooperation between Governments and National Governing Bodies covering such areas as talent identification, national academies, the provision of suitable facilities etc.

Supporting Top Level and Professional Sport

Methods of providing appropriate support for the nations’ top athletes who reveal exceptional sporting qualities must be developed by cooperation with sports organisations in order to give them full opportunities to exploit this talent to their full potential.

Domestic and International Cooperation

Each Member State to which the Charter applies must ensure appropriate structures are in place for the proper coordination of the development and promotion of sport between the various public administrators and sporting organisations.

These should be developed at central, regional and local levels in order to fully comply with the Charter.

Cooperation at both European and International level is also necessary for the fulfillment of the aims of the Charter.