What is it about?

Across Europe efforts are being made to try and raise governance standards in the sports sector, specifically around the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability in decision-making, and inclusiveness in the representation of interested stakeholders.

Why is it needed?

While taking into account the great diversity of sport structures in different European countries, the EU aims to strengthen the organisation of sport in Europe. The Commission’s approach is to provide added value to work at national level by collecting and sharing good practices and providing practical recommendations that will help increase standards of good governance in sport.

What has been done so far?

The 2007 White Paper on Sport noted that self-regulation is able to deal with most challenges that affect sport if good governance principles are being applied. In its 2011 Communication, the Commission took a more elaborate position, noting that good governance in sport is a condition for the autonomy and self-regulation of sport organisations.

In 2011, the topics of good governance and strengthening the organisation of sport in Europe were included in a Preparatory Action in the field of sport. Eight projects were selected, implemented, and concluded by the end of 2013. Since 2014, good governance projects have been eligible for financing through Erasmus+.

An EU Expert Group on Good Governance was established on the basis of the Council Resolution on an EU Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014. In October 2013, the Group adopted recommendations on the Principles for Good Governance of Sport in the EU and presented them to the EU Council.

The second EU Work Plan for Sport (2011-2014) continued the work on this theme. The EU Expert Group on Good Governance focused on gender equality, protection of minors, and democracy and human rights in the bidding process of major sport events.

There was also a follow-up of the good governance principles from the previous work plan. In this context, work began on developing a declaration for European sport organisations and federations to commit to good governance. The pledge was launched in September 2016.

What are the next steps?

The Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020) tackles cross-border threats to the integrity of sport, and promotes and supports good governance in sport, through its sport actions.

The 2017-2020 work plan on sport includes an expert group on integrity in sport, focusing on anti-corruption.

The European Commission will continue to deepen engagement to good governance in sport in the EU through the pledge.