On Wednesday 17 November, the European Commission hosted a high-level conference entitled, “The recovery of the sport sector after the COVID-19 crisis: the way ahead” in which the impact of COVID-19 and future of the sector was central to the discussion.
While the pandemic has made the indispensable social, mental and physical health benefits of physical activity clearer than ever, the sport and physical activity sector itself has been severely hit. As Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, outlined the sector has gained a stronger sense of legitimacy during the crisis. This was echoed by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee in his keynote speech, in which he applauded the European Sports model in which values are at the core.
However, in discussing the soon to be published European Commission Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on the sector, Commissioner Gabriel revealed that the sector has shrunk by 20 to 25%, with an estimated 10% reduction in GDP from the sport sector. Subsequently, Gabriel stressed that the EU budget, which is currently in the final negotiation stage, contains many measures opportunities to support sport and physical activity sector, and she encouraged all participants to make use of these opportunities.
In addition the Commissioner announced that in the coming weeks the 2021-2024 Work Plan for Sport will be published, which will include many of the Commission’s priorities such as sport and innovation, sport and environment, gender equality and sport diplomacy. It will also include the launch of the expert groups on Green Sport and the Impact of Covid-19 on Sport.
Finally, Gabriel revealed that the follow-up to the successful Tartu Call, will be named “Healthy Lifestyles for All” and that it will have a wider scope, including more sectors and attention for sustainability and innovation. EuropeActive is eager to learn more about the presented plans and initiatives in the coming weeks and looks forward to supporting the Commission in her actions which will result in more European being more active more often.