The Council of Europe and Sport

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

If a European Sports model exists, the Council of Europe is unquestionably the body that has made the most substantial contribution to pave its way. The Council of Europe was the first international intergovernmental organisation to take initiatives, to establish legal instruments, and to offer an institutional framework for the development of sport at European level.

The Council of Europe was the first international organisation established in Europe after the Second World War. With 46 Member States, the Council of Europe currently represents the image of a 'wider Europe'. The main objective of the Council of Europe is to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The extensive work of the Council of Europe on sport is evident through the main texts on sport, such as the European Sports Charter and the Code of Sports Ethics, the European Convention on Spectator Violence and the

Anti-Doping Convention.

The Sports Charter and the Code of Sports Ethics strive to support national sport policies and to promote sport for all as a means of improving the quality of life, of facilitating social integration and of contributing to social cohesion, particularly among young people. With respect to these core values of the Council of Europe, this kind of action contributes to the dissemination and the promotion of the core values in the whole of society, through sport.

The Conventions on violence and doping attempt to counter certain negative aspects of sport and contribute to enforcing the Council of Europe's core values in sport.

Sport is a cultural, social and economic phenomenon of unparalleled importance, and it is, therefore, natural that the Council of Europe should give it considerable attention. The first stage of the Council of Europe's work in this field was marked by the adoption of the Committee of Ministers' Resolution on Doping of Athletes in 1967.

The European Cultural Convention (1954) provided the basis for international co-operation in the field of education, culture, European heritage, sport and youth activities. Sport co-operation within the Council of Europe is organised in partnership with national governmental and non-governmental bodies in the framework of the Committee for the Development of Sport (CDDS), which was established in 1977 and in force until 2005. The CDDS used to meet annually in Strasbourg to adopt its programme and discuss current topical questions in sport. Bringing together all the 49 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention, the CDDS established and managed a pan-European work programme, and prepared the Conferences of European Ministers responsible for Sport. These conferences, which meet on average every other year, give political guidelines for the direction of future co-operation in the field of sport.

In 2005, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to renew the framework of co-operation for sport within the Council of Europe and to consider the creation of a partial agreement on sport to succeed the CDDS. A feasibility study was prepared in 2006 on various factors and the 17th Informal Meeting of Sports Ministers in Moscow in October 2006 decided that partial agreement would be the only possible way to continue and to deepen the work of the CDDS, and to give a new perspective to the pan-European sport co-operation within the Council of Europe. Partial agreement will allow all interested States to join, but all States party to the European Cultural Convention will continue to take part in ministerial conferences. Partial agreement will also provide a framework for an enhanced co-operation with international sport organisations, in order to address issues related to the good governance of sport in Europe.

2. General instruments and themes

On 24 September 1976, the European Sport for All Charter was adopted by European States. …