All European team sports have certain things in common, be it in their everyday activities, such as the development and regulation of their sport in Europe and the organisation of competitions, or in issues linked to their politico-economic environment. It was this realisation that led them, early in the new millennium, to come together for informal discussions on points of common interest. Regular meetings of this sort were organised by basketball (FIBA Europe), football (UEFA), handball (EHF) and volleyball (CEV), who were later joined by ice hockey (IIHF) and rugby (FIRA-AER). In July 2008 the European team sports submitted to the EU a joint document entitled 'Safeguarding the Heritage and Future of Team Sport in Europe' defining their common position regarding various key challenges faced by European sport. The next step was taken in December 2009, when the group strengthened their relationship by creating the Association of European Team Sports (ETS) to promote, develop and represent the interests of European team sport.
The main objectives of ETS are to represent and promote the interests of European team sports and to discuss questions concerning team sport in Europe. In particular ETS is working toward a proper recognition in Europe, and in particular at EU level, of the European Sports Model, based amongst other things on the autonomy of sport, the central role and autonomy of sports federations, and the specificity of sport. ETS also aims to maintain friendly relations and to foster cooperation, exchange of experience and information between its members.
EU policy is a key area for ETS. The European Union is a legal and political reality which increasingly has the power to influence European team sports' core interests. In its relations with the EU, ETS aims at strengthening the notion of specificity of sport and building on the structures of the European sports model, underpinned by the sports federations. It therefore becomes crucial for European team sports governing bodies to share information and experiences, plan out strategies and agree on common positions in instances such as in 'Safeguarding the heritage and future of team sport in Europe' (adopted in July 2008).
Activities of ETS are not limited to EU matters. ETS member federations learn from each other's experiences in fields including competition regulations and formats, marketing of their competitions, relations between national, continental and world federations, match calendars, medical matters and even refereeing issues. ETS member federations also support the MESGO programme, which is an Executive Master in European Sport Governance for senior decision-making managers and officials working in sport.
The Association of European Team Sports (ETS) is a non-profit organisation in accordance with Swiss law. The members of ETS are five leading European team sports - CEV (volleyball), EHF (handball), FIBA Europe (basketball), FIRA-AER (rugby), UEFA (football) - and one of the main international team sport federations - IIHF (ice hockey). Membership of ETS is in principle open to any pan-European team sport federation having its headquarters in Europe and which is the European governing body in its sport. Membership is also in principle open to world-wide federations where no European federation exists (as is the case with IIHF). ETS members meet formally at least three times a year. The members take turns to host meetings, chaired by the president of the host federation. ETS member federations share a representative office in Brussels.
European Team Sports Association
21, Rue Marie-Thérèse
Tel.: +31 2 626 0469
Fax:+32 2 626 0464