Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Sport Governance in Portugal

Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Sport Governance in Portugal

Article excerpt

1. Legal Framework

1.1. Sport at the Portuguese Republic Constitution

Since the first Portuguese Republic Constitution ("Constituicao da Republica Portuguesa") - PRC - dated from 1976, sport is recognized as a fundamental right. The "right to physical culture (1) and sport" is enshrined in Article 79, under the umbrella of the Section dedicated to "Rights, Freedoms and their Guarantees" in Title III which covers "Economic, social and cultural rights and duties".

Article 79 (1) stipulates a general right to physical culture and sport as follows: "Everyone shall possess the right to physical education and sport". This means that all citizens are entitled to sport in its various dimensions and scenarios: school; recreation; high performance; amateurism; professionalism, informal activities, inter alia.

In its turn, no. 2, added at the time of the 1989 constitutional revision, states as follows: "Acting in cooperation with schools and sporting associations and groups, the state shall be charged with promoting, stimulating, guiding and supporting the practice and dissemination of physical culture and sport, and preventing violence in sport." One can infer from this provision that instead of a State's monopoly, there is a collaborationist and decentralized model. The PCR demands State to have a central role in sport policies but simultaneously refuses a sole intervention of the State. In other words, the State's intervention shall be developed necessarily in close collaboration with public and private stakeholders, mainly schools, the "sports movement" (private and autonomous sport governing bodies such as clubs, associations and federations) and local authorities (2).

Apart from and in conjunction with Article 79, sport is covered by some other constitutional provisions, both explicitly and implicitly:

(i) Further to Article 59 (1) (d), "workers have the right to rest and leisure time, a maximum limit on the working day, a weekly rest period and periodic paid holidays";

(ii) According to Article 71 (1), "[c]itizens with physical or mental disabilities shall fully enjoy the rights and shall be subject to the duties enshrined in this Constitution and save the exercise or fulfilment of those for which their condition renders them unfit." If one read this provision in conjunction with Article 79, one must conclude that handicapped citizens have a fundamental entitlement to sport;

(iii) Pursuant to Article 64 (1) "[e]veryone shall possess the right to health protection and the duty to defend and promote health". Further to no. 2 of the same provision, this right to health protection shall be fulfilled, among other means, by "(...) promoting physical fitness and sport at school";

(iv) The constitutional provision related to youth is also very relevant for sport. In fact, as stated in Article 70 (1) (d), "[i]n order to ensure the effective enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights, young people shall receive special protection, particularly (...) [i]n physical education and sport";

(v) Article 65 enshrines the "right to housing and urban planning" In order to ensure the enjoyment of the right to housing the State shall be charged with "[p]lanning and implementing a housing policy that is embodied in general town and country planning documents and supported by urban planning documents that guarantee the existence of an adequate network of transport and social facilities". There is no doubt that sport facilities integrate the concept of "social facilities";

(vi) Article 66 (1) states that "[e]veryone shall possess the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced human living environment and the duty to defend it";

(vii) Article 69 enshrines the right of children to the protection of society and the State, "with a view to their integral development", i.e., children shall possess the right to take part in recreational and sporting activities suitable for their age;

(viii) According to Article 73 (1) and (2) "[e]veryone shall possess the right to education and culture" and it is for the State to "promote the democratization of education and the other conditions needed for education" and to contribute to equal opportunities, the overcoming of economic, social and cultural inequalities". …

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