FIBA Europe Meets with the European Union Commissioner

20.12.2005

FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos and Secretary General Nar Zanolin met for the second time with the European Union’s Commissioner for Sport and Education, Mr. Jan Figel on Monday in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The focus of the talks was for the European Union to recognise that sport is a “social expression” with a specific role in society.

FIBA Europe believes that sport has always played an integral role in society

FIBA Europe believes that sport has always played an integral role in society and touches many people whether they are active participants as players, officials, administrators, coaches or fans. Everybody at some point in their life has contact with sport, usually as a social activity and that fact should be recognised as such by the European Union.

In recent years, over-commercialisation of sport has brought many negative aspects such as exploitation of young players, betting and doping thus affecting the sport values and principles.

FIBA Europe feels that professionalism and commercialisation of sport are two absolutely different issues.  Professionalism should be used to develop sport and obtain the best possible sport result and the financial aspect is only used as a way to achieve the above goals.  Commercialisation is using sport as a means to obtain the best financial results.  This is against the philosophy of FIBA Europe because it contradicts the social aspect of sport.

FIBA Europe underlined to the EU Commissioner, Mr. Jan Figel, the following points:

  • Recognition of the “specificity” of sport
  • Sports players should not be treated as normal workers but should have “special status”
  • Recognition of (federative system) the national federation as the “official governing body” of each country
  • National team competition remains the major focal point of most sports, especially basketball, and the national team player should be protected
  • Each sport should have the right to implement its own rules and regulations in order to protect national talent

“This was another productive meeting with the European Union,” said President George Vassilakopoulos.

We have detailed what we believe to be important for the future growth of sport and we are hoping that the European Union recognises this officially by issuing a statement endorsing our recommendations.”

It is not only important for us that sports are protected from over-commercialisation but also from all related negative aspects.  This will allow us to continue to grow and develop our sport at all levels.”


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