30.10.2012 MEP Zdanoka's speech on European dimension in sport (1 February 2012 - Brussels)
Tatjana Ždanoka, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I would also like to congratulate Mr Fisas Ayxela and the authors of the opinions on their excellent work.
Our political group welcomes the EU-level action in the field of sport being mentioned in the Commission’s communication. We also support the proposals included in Parliament’s motion for a resolution. In particular we are fully satisfied that the report voices the concern regarding support for traditional sport and games as an important part of our diverse cultural heritage. Member States should take measures to protect them, since some traditional games and sports are in danger of disappearing.
The main matters of concern are some social aspects of the life of professional sportsmen and women, many of whom face an uncertain future at the end of their sporting careers. This problem was outlined especially by the leaders of the Latvian Trade Union of Sport and Tourism during our discussions on the subject. Europe should promote its social model and improve social standards concerning such a specific category of employees as professional athletes. I hope the appeal to the Member States to consider ways of alleviating the financial burden on the lowest-paid professional sportspersons will be acknowledged. Nevertheless, the implementation of a common European definition of the procedure and determination of terms for professional athletes and coaches retiring is welcomed.
Therefore we support the suggestion in the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs to call on the Commission to initiate a dialogue with all EU professional sports organisations on how to tackle problems arising from differences in the Member States regarding employment contracts.