Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD this morning opened an EU Conference in Dublin Castle on the contribution of sport to the economy.
The Conference, organised jointly by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Irish Sports Council, is an EU Presidency event and is being attended by representatives of the key sports organisations across Europe. Speakers include former rugby international Keith Wood.
The theme of the Conference is the Sustainable Financing of Sport. The Conference is examining sport’s contribution to the economy and the critical challenges in financing sport – particularly grassroots sport - in a more sustainable way.
Minister Ring – “This is an exciting time to be involved in sport at EU level and in the current economic climate. We will look in detail at sport’s contribution to economic growth and employment, and the financial sustainability of sport and sports clubs”.
“Sport doesn’t just happen: the public authorities and sporting organisations need to work together to ensure the long term financial sustainability of sport,” Minister Ring said.
Following the Lisbon Treaty the EU now has powers to act in the field of sport. This provides the EU with a single voice at international level in important areas, such as the ongoing fight against drugs in sport, and Ireland will represent the EU at the World Anti-Doping Agency over the next 18 months.
Speakers at the conference include former Irish rugby international Keith Wood, who will speak on economic and financial models for sport. Other speakers include:
- Chiara Gariazzo, European Commission Director for Youth and Sport
- Dr Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan
- Georg Schlachtenberger, the Chief Operating Officer of the International Paralympic Committee.
EU Sport Directors will meet on Friday to further the work done at the Conference, share best practice across EU Member States and discuss how the EU can add value to national sport policies.
Minister Ring added: “2013 is the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the EU. The Irish Presidency is all about restoring economic stability across the Union, promoting economic growth and creating jobs. Sport at local level depends on the outstanding contribution of volunteers. Sport also plays a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of our citizens and instilling a sense of place and belonging among those who play and those who follow sport. National policy serves to promote these aspects of sport and the EU has the potential to add significantly to this work.”
Notes for Editors
EU Sports ministers now meet in a formal context as part of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Ministers Council meetings. These meetings are a forum to adopt political statements on priorities for EU action and react to topical issues in the field of sport.
Since last year Minister Ring has attended three Council meetings in Brussels and has actively engaged with EU counterparts and with the EU Commissioner for Sport.
Minister Ring will chair the next Sports Council in May (to be held in Brussels).
Topics and speakers at today’s conference
Economic and Financial Models for Sport
Mr Derek McGrath, European Rugby Cup
Mr Nick Pink, International Cricket Council
Mr Keith Wood, W2 Consulting and former international rugby union footballer;
Mr Georg Schlachtenberger, Chief Operating Officer, International Paralympic Committee
Challenges Facing the Sport Sector
Mr Ryle Nugent, Group Head of Sport, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
Mr Benoît Keane, Keane Legal, Brussels
Sustainable Financing of Sport/EU
Dr Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Sport Management, University of Michigan
Ms Chiara Gariazzo, Director for Youth and Sport, European Commission.