Parliament wants to step up fight against doping
By Eric van Puyvelde | Tuesday 13 May 2008
The trafficking of doping substances must be dealt with in the same way as the trafficking of illegal drugs, says the European Parliament in the report by Manolis Mavrommatis (EPP-ED, Greece), adopted on 8 May in the plenary session. Noting that 72% of EU citizens cite doping as the most negative aspect linked to sport, the rapporteur believes that professional clubs and sports organisations should commit to combating doping. Likewise, partnerships between the services charged with enforcing the law, such as laboratories certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Interpol, should be established.
The other important point raised in the report, which welcomes the European Commission’s White Paper on sport
(1), is the need to put in place clear guidelines on the application of EU law.
With a view to the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification, the role of sport in Europe must be given a “strategic orientation,” and MEPs are asking the Commission to respect sport’s specificity by not adopting a case-by-case approach.
They also request a special budget line in the 2009 budget for the implementation of actions in the field.
MEPs “call on member states and sports associations not to introduce new rules that will create discrimination on the basis of nationality,” such as the ‘6+5 rule’, proposed by FIFA, where six players on the field at the beginning of the match will have to be from the country of the club that they are playing for. This rule will be submitted to a vote in congress in Sydney, Australia, on 29 and 30 May.
The Parliament also asks professional sports organisations and sports clubs to launch campaigns to combat all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia before, during and after sporting events.
MEPs regret that the white paper does not take the gender equality aspect adequately into account, especially concerning equal pay for female and male athletes.
To ensure that not only the biggest clubs will benefit from the selling of the rights, MEPs recommend that member states and national sports federations and leagues introduce “collective selling of media rights” so that there would be an equitable redistribution of income between the clubs within and between the leagues and between professional and amateur sport.
They also encourage the sports organisations to reinvest a percentage of the revenue from TV rights to a particular sport to fund the volunteer and non-profit sectors. MEPs acknowledge the right of the member states to assure wide access by television coverage to sport events of major interest of the public such as the Olympic Games, the Football World Cup and the European Football Championship and support member states in drawing up a list of events of major importance that should be on free-to-air television.
Concerned by the possible deregulation of lotteries and gambling markets, MEPs call on the Commission to assess the effects of such liberalisation on society and sport. They consider it appropriate to use lottery profits for purposes that are in the public interest, such as the funding of professional and amateur sport, and call on the Commission and the member states to adopt regulatory measures to protect sport from any improper influence relating to betting.
For its part, the Commission has announced that three studies are being prepared and will be launched in 2008 on the following aspects: the financing of grassroots sport and sport for all, the necessity or otherwise of EU action on players’ agents, and volunteering in sport.
The Community’s guidelines on physical activity are being prepared by an expert group, it said. A working group has developed a statistical EU definition of sport, and several member states are planning to start the production of data on this basis.
In November, the Commission will organise a European Sport Forum to discuss the implementation of the white paper with European sport stakeholders, also in view of possible future initiatives based on the new provisions contained in the Lisbon Treaty.(1) The white paper is available at