The first meeting of the High-Level Group on Grassroots sport took place on the 9 November in Brussels. The group was set up by Commissioner Navracsics in order to assess the role of grassroots sport in its societal and economic dimensions.
15 selected members with different backgrounds (former athletes, academics, personalities having exercised high-level responsibilities in the field of sport, representatives of major sport organisations, etc.) are invited to prepare recommendations addressed to the Commission by the end of June 2016.
Commissioner Navracsics informed about his priorities in the field of sport and outlined the importance of grassroots sport in the EU, emphasizing its role in facilitating social inclusion in European countries.
During this first meeting, Graham Watson and Niels Nygaard were elected as co-chairs of the group. Their work will be supported by the rapporteur Wolfgang Baumann, who will be assisted by a vice-rapporteur, Mr Carlos Cardoso.
As a preliminary but fundamental work, the Group agreed on the definition of grassroots sport that it would use for its future work: "Grassroots sport is physical leisure activity, organised and non-organised, practised regularly at non-professional level for health, educational or social purposes". The members of the group then set the scope of their future investigations related to grassroots sport, as follows:
Remarkable lectures were delivered by Koen Breedveld, who presented the current state and main challenges of grassroots sport in Europe, and Mathieu Moreuil, who gave practical examples on the role of professional sport in supporting grassroots sport through the funding of a range of social inclusion projects.
The next meeting of the High Level Group on Grassroots Sport, to take place in early 2016 in Brussels, will focus on two specific themes related to grassroots sport: social inclusion and health.