On Monday June 14th, the European Commission Expert Group “Strengthening the recovery and the crisis resilience of the sport sector during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic" brought together experts from the EU member states and observers from the sport movement, including EuropeActive, to look at the key challenges for the recovery of the sector.
Following the welcoming remarks of Floor Van Houdt, Head of the European Commission’s Sport Unit, the participants debated the position paper on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the sport sector, presented by the European Olympic Committee’s EU office. One of the points coming forward was the importance of the inclusion of sport and physical activity in the national recovery plans – with 13 out of the 27 plans currently addressing sport and physical activity in a specific way.
Subsequently Valeri Giovannini, representing UEFA, expanded on the contribution of sport to the recovery process and stressed the importance of working at all governmental levels to make sure the sport sector can contribute fully to the continent’s recovery.
During the interventions of the sport movement observers Lukas Declercq, EuropeActive’s EU and Public Affairs Director, informed the participants that fitness centres have re-opened across Europe and that the first recovery signs are positive, with high numbers of old and new members visiting fitness facilities. He also mentioned that the underlying fundamentals for the fitness and physical activity sector have been reinforced by the pandemic. However, because of the many restrictions still being applied when operating fitness facilities, it is crucial that financial support measures are available to make sure a strong and full recovery can be made.