EPFL Supports Leagues and Clubs in Brussels

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Funding of Grassroot Sports under Commission’s Spot Light

The CEO of the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), Dr. Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, sustained on 16th February in Brussels that the EU institutions should place sport at the top of their political agenda and recognize it as a strategic factor for the economic and social development of the European Union and its Member States. The statement was made during an International Conference organized by the European Commission on “What Future Sustainable Funding Model(s) for Grassroots Sports in the Internal Market??, which counted with the presence of several European sports organizations, such as EPFL, UEFA, SROC, ECA and individual Leagues, as well as national Governments, universities and other key stakeholders.

“The traditional funding models for grassroots sports, starting by public funding, tend to show signs of decline. This global economic recession has deeply affected pubic finances. In this context, financial solidarity streams from professional sport to grassroots gain increased significance. However, if the European Commission and the Member States do not hurry in conferring the needed legal protection to the commercial and intellectual property rights of the competitions’organisers, as we have been claiming for, who knows until when professional sport will be able to
ensure its own economic viability and therefore to continue pursuing its social role to the full??, asked the EPFL CEO, who also called the European Commission’s attention to the need to regulate sports betting.

In line with this, Mathieu Moreil, representing SROC, the informal coalition that gathers around 40 international sporting organizations, explained the investments made sports right owners in grassroots and stressed that “The controversy between the liberalization of the sports betting market or the preservation of the monopolist model is not essential.” “What is essential – completed the referred official – is to regulate the betting market so that we can safeguard the integrity of our
competitions and ensure that we receive a fair financial return from the betting industry for the exploitation of our rights”.

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Guido Beradis, Director-General of Internal Market and Services, announced the launch of a Green Paper on Sports Betting, an initiative which was recently reported to the European Parliament by the newly appointed Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Mr Michel Barnier.

The list of speakers at the Conference included also Pierre Mairesse (EC Director- General for Education and Culture), Prof. Stefan Szymanski (Cass Business School), Helen Day (European Sponsorship Association), Jean Jorgensen (World Lottery Association), Sigrid Lign? (EGBA), Pascal Torres (UEFA) and others.

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