On June 19, 2020, EAS was invited as an observer to the 6th meeting of the European Commission Expert Group “Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport”. Due to the COVIS-19 restrictions, the 6thmeeting of the 26 XG HR Members nominated by their respective Member State and the 10 invited observers from invited pan-European sports organisations and networks was held in a virtual room coordinated by Nais Rigolett of the EC Sport Unit. The meeting consisted of three sessions.
IN THE FIRST SESSION, Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the EC Sport Unit, provided a thorough update from the Commission, starting from the development of the ERASMUS+Sport calls for proposals, which are now summarized in the informative brochure on 107 funded pilot projects and preparatory actions in the field of sport for the 2016-2019 period. To note, out of the 37 ongoing projects, EAS is actively involved in:
In 2020, €70,8 million have been allotted for new projects and 1145 proposals have been submitted (18% Collaborative Partnerships focusing on “Education in and through sport”, including dual career). Results are expected in October 2020.
The Commission launched further calls for Preparatory Actions in the Field of Sport, and the #BeInclusive EU Sport Awards, with nomination open till June 30, 2020, and the three winners to be announced in November 2020 at a special awards ceremony in Brussels.
During the German Presidency, the next EU Work Plan for Sport will be negotiated and its adoption is expected in December 2020.
Finally, the Commission’s responses to Covid-19 crisis were presented, encompassing flexibility offered to the on-going projects, dedicated meeting on the future of the sport to be held in the second half of 2020, and a Study on the impact of the COVID-19 on sports sector to be published next September 2020.
THE SECOND SESSION focused on the achievements of the Expert Group and the way forward. Agata Dziarnowska, Policy Officer EC Sport Unit, summarized the activities of the XG HR, which were particularly focused on coach education, sports qualifications, and dual careers. The XG HR followed a working method mainly based on exchanges of best practices, active discussion on relevant aspects to be addressed, practical visits to get acquainted with the different national realities, and the finalization of the Guidelines Regarding the Minimum Requirements in Skills and Competencies for Coaches.
The effective cooperation and networking determined in the XG HR Members a solid feeling of having focused on the main sport priorities, of having improved the cooperation and coordination between the Member States and sports organizations, and of having introduced appropriate structures and working methods. Thus, resulting in a solid feeling of being part of a European Team in Sport emerged. Hopefully, the next EU Work Plan for Sport will consider the continuation of the Expert Groups and strengthen the European commitment in education in and through sport.
Martina Jeričević, Chair of Working Party on Sport, illustrated the activities of the Croatian Presidency in the field of sport despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the Croatian programme not only focused on the empowerment of coaches through the acquisition of skills and competences, but also on the impact of the pandemic crisis and the recovery of the sports sector. Furthermore, on June 25, the Croatian Presidency will host the Directors General for Sport video meeting, during which a new framework for further cooperation in EU sport and the role and influence of media in the sport will be discussed.
Guy Taylor, National Director of the UK Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), offered his expert’s contribution and his critical view of the past experiences and future directions of the XG HR. Thus, the general discussion highlighted a widespread appreciation for the tremendous work accomplished by the EC Sport Office and provided advice and expertise to the Commission in relation to the preparation of policy initiatives and the upcoming EU Work Plan for Sport.
Following the closing remarks of the meeting, a virtual drink was organized to wish a bright future to the European sport. A special thank for her valuable contribution to the European sport was given to Agata Dziarnowska, who is leaving the Sport Unit at the end of the month to a new position at the Commission. Indeed, Agata Dziarnowska represented a solid pillar of the Sport Unit and a tireless supporter of a European sports culture based on education in and through sport, and always an outstanding speaker at the EAS Annual Conferences.