The European Parliament’s Committee on Sports, whose members include former GAA President Sean Kelly MEP have been looking at various ways of introducing controls over agents, new anti-corruption measures, schemes for financing of grassroots sports and the vexed question of how to compensate clubs who regularly lose players to International matches, especially the ever increasing number of friendlies approved by such as FIFA and UEFA.
Speaking from Strasbourg ,ahead of Ireland’s Euro2012 – 2nd leg qualifier against Estonia last night, Kerryman, Kelly who is also an active supporter of the European GAA Council said:-
“In a very significant moment for European sport, the Committee on Culture, Education and Sport, of which I am a member, has endorsed its first report on future EU sports policy,” Mr Kelly explained.
“We recognise the huge demands placed on certain club level sports when it comes to player participation at national level. Clubs have to make the difficult decision to sacrifice their players with a possible impact on their own season results, in order to support national teams. It’s a sacrifice we feel should be compensated with an insurance mechanism for clubs.”
Mr Kelly highlighted how national teams have the ability to lift the mood of a country. “We all felt the swell of pride after Ireland’s win over Estonia on Friday night last. The success demonstrates how important national sports are to Member States. This text helps strengthen national sports support structures.”
On the subject of greater regulation of agents, the former GAA President commented “Like any professional industry, those claiming sports agent status should have adequate qualifications and be registered with a European licence. There must be greater transparency in this area and sports agents must follow a code of conduct. Parliament is also in favour of the payment of agent’s fees for transfers being made in a number of instalments throughout the duration of the contract, with full payment being dependent on the contract being fulfilled.”
The report also cites the development of a ‘European dimension of sport’ complementing actions of Member States in areas such as health-enhancing physical activity at all education levels, the fight against doping and corruption, promotion of voluntary sport and social inclusion as well as sustainable financing of grassroots sport, of which Mr Kelly is a strong advocate. It is also suggests that the European flag should be flown at major international sports events held on EU territory.
The text takes the Lisbon Treaty mandate into account in order to support, coordinate and supplement sport policy measures taken by Member States.