European Team Sports Back Dutch-French Memorandum On Specificity Of Sport

25 October 2007

The leading European team sports today welcomed a new initiative by the European Affairs Ministers of the Netherlands and France which aims to provide greater legal security for sport in Europe. 

Mr Frans Timmermans and Monsieur Jean-Pierre Jouyet, respectively the Dutch and French Ministers responsible for EU matters, have authored a Memorandum in which they outline their concerns regarding the lack of legal clarity in relation to key issues concerning sport, in particular, team sport in Europe.

George Vassilakopoulos (President of FIBA Europe)
George Vassilakopoulos  says that the legal framework for sport is an absolute must

While emphasising the importance of the Nice Declaration on Sport adopted in 2000 and also welcoming the European Commission's recent "White Paper" on sport published earlier this year, the Dutch and French Ministers observe that a "case-by-case" approach to all questions facing sport cannot deliver the degree of legal stability needed to ensure the healthy development of sport in Europe. 

Consequently, the Ministers have called on the European Commission to focus on certain practical matters facing sport today and to provide concrete guidance for the future, in particular with regard to specificity and the autonomy of sport.

These matters include the composition of teams, the regulation of agents, rules on the training of players (in particular, “local trained player” requirements), the protection of minors, the central marketing of television rights, and club licensing systems.

FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos has welcomed the Ministerial initiative.

“The sports governing bodies are here to plan for the future development of their sports. The definition of a proper legal framework within which they can operate is an absolute must.”
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin presents Dirk Nowitzki with the 2005 Player of the Year trophy
Secretary General Nar Zanolin: "The future of sport cannot be decided in the courts of law."

FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin has asked for all parties involved to commit themselves to bringing the issue to a successful conclusion.

“This memorandum is further proof that the specificity and legal certainty must be established in order to protect sport. The future of sport cannot be decided in the courts of law.”

Note: the Memorandum of the French and Dutch ministers is supported by the following European team sports:
Basketball (FIBA Europe)
Football (UEFA)
Handball (EHF - European Handball Federation)
Rugby (FIRA-Association Européenne de Rugby (FIRA-AER))
Volleyball (CEV - Confédération Européenne de Volleyball)

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