Good governance in sport: how can the EU contribute

Transparency, integrity and corporate governance rules need to become statutory obligations for all sport federations and at all levels. The EU could work on a Council recommendation (under art. 165.3 TFEU) on this issue. Although EU recommendations are in principle not binding, they become binding when implemented at Member State level (Judgment of the CJEU in Grimaldi). Federations who do not comply could be sanctioned. They could be receiving less subsidies, they could be excluded from participation from official meetings etc… Indeed the credibility, currently under pressure because of various scandals, could only be reestablished if strict rules are implemented

In the paper prepared by the Council of the EU for the policy debate at the EYCS Council on 30-31 “Improving governance in Sport”, the Presidency mentions that various Member States do provide support, including subsidies, to improve sport governance and can work out models for governance through dialogue and legislation, but also as a last resort through law enforcement. Some Member States have mandatory rules on good governance connected to subsidies to be granted. The paper mentions that that sport sector is alone not equipped to combat money related integrity issues . The public and the authorities have asked for more transparency in decision-making, good governance and accountability. Clear rules on electoral procedures, appropriate code of ethics, accountability and transparency in decision-making and financial operations are a responsibility of the sport sector according to the Presidency paper.

Why does the EC not consider to use the instruments provided by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) into practice and cooperate with the Member States.

Further the EC could also use art. 165,4 first indent TFEU to adopt incentive measures. Both measures could be combined.

The EU is increasingly using soft law instruments to design policy measures. In the sport sector such positive intervention may be useful.

(Intervention of Philippe Vlaemminck at the Panathlon International Conference in Antwerp , 20 May 2016)

By Philippe Vlaemminck.

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