Sir Graham Watson, EuropeActive’s president was co-chair of the High Level Group on Grassroots Sport which prepared a report to the Commissioner Tibor Navracis. Just before the European Week of Sport, Mr. Watson and EuropeActive’s EU policy team took part in a public hearing at the European Parliament on how the recommendations would be implemented.
The public hearing on the way forward for Grassroots Sport in Europe was hosted by Vice-Chair of EP Sport Intergroup MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE, Fi) with the participation of the European Non-governmental Organisations (ENGSO) and the support of the European Lotteries Association (EL).
According to the definition given by the HLG Grassroots sport is physical leisure activity, organised and non-organised, practised regularly at non-professional level for health, educational or social purposes. The 10 key recommendations pointed in the final report of the HLG include promotion of grassroots sport in the next EU Work Plan for Sport (2017+), focussing on four key issues. They include promotion of health enhancing physical activity; employment and skills benefits of grassroots sport; accessibility of EU funding, including Erasmus+, for grassroots sport and strong financing support.
Grassroots sport policy can make an important contribution to achieving the goals of the EU's Juncker Plan because all respectable academic studies point to significant economic benefits from grassroots sport. The beneficial social contribution of grassroots sport is linked with some important issues among others such as health, social inclusion, informal learning and skills development and economic dimension.