Commissioner backs Premier League's 'Creating Chances' scheme
Commissioner Vassiliou was recently in London to see how funding from the EU and schemes like the Premier League's 'Creating Chances' initiative are helping to tackle anti-social behaviour and encouraging young people to boost their educational qualifications and job prospects.
Her visit was featured by the BBC's popular Match of the Day football show as part of its 'community feature'
The Commissioner visited a 'Kickz' football coaching project, run in tandem with the police in deprived areas of the UK, which aims to channel young people's energy into sport and away from gang culture. She also met youngsters taking part in language classes at Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium.
"Through sport, especially through football, which is the king of sports, it's so easy to attract young people and get them into the mood of learning - not only languages but to be educated in general," she said.
The Premier League scheme is not just targeting football fans. It also seeks to motivate youngsters to try other sports including judo, badminton, volleyball and table tennis.
Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said: "Our clubs particularly have huge impacts within their local community and therefore the ability to do something wider than perhaps most of the headlines would deliver is important. If you can do something as good as this, then you should do."
A view echoed by Arsenal's chief executive chief Ivan Gazidis: ""This type of project is often at the heart of what a football club is about and it often doesn't get reported. Underneath the tip of the iceberg, there is a massive amount of work that is done, day in and day out, by ordinary people in our communities that make a difference to people's lives."
- In 2009-2010 the European Commission provided more than €6 million to support around 40 sport-related projects aimed at promoting social inclusion, volunteering, access for the disabled, health, gender equality and the fight against doping. Twelve new projects will be launched in 2011.
- On 18 January, the Commission approved an action plan aimed at strengthening the societal, economic and organisational dimensions of sport. The Commission's proposals are contained in a paper entitled "Developing the European Dimension in Sport".