EU sports ministers meet to promote equal opportunities28 September 2005

Sports ministers from across the EU have met at a two day conference in Liverpool, hosted by the UK presidency and chaired by the UK Sports Minister, Richard Caborn MP. During the informal meeting, the ministers agreed to promote equal opportunities and diversity in and through sport at both national and European levels.

A shining example
UEFA, represented by Vice-President Per Omdal, Spoke at the event to highlight their commitment to, and experiences of combatting racism in football, Europe’s favourite sport.

Previously, in the September issue of “Uefa direct” magazine, Richard Caborm MP previewed the meeting and highlighted the work UEFA are doing with FARE:
“I know that UEFA takes the issue as seriously as the UK government. [UEFA’s] current campaign in cooperation with Football Against Racism in Europe is just one example of UEFA's commitment to taking action.”

According to Carbon, the EU could also make a significant contribution to eliminating discrimination from sport and promoting it as a force for bringing people together.

Conclusions
Following the meeting, Caborn said, “The EU is committed to ensuring that everyone is given the opportunity to take part [in sport], irrespective of their ability, race or gender.”

UK Department of Sport spokesperson Anthony Wright added,
“The UK agrees with the broad principles underpinning the conclusions of a Commission/European sports movement consultation saying that hidden barriers to access to sport for groups that are sometimes excluded (eg immigrants, ethnic minorities, disabled people, elderly people and women) should be fought at European level and that sports leaders (eg social workers working with disadvantaged people) should be given support in terms of training.

Although the UK sees it as important to stamp out the negative aspects of sport, such as racist chanting, the emphasis behind the item on promoting equal opportunities and diversity in and through sport is on exploring good practice in the positive aspects of sports participation and sharing it with other member states.”