MEPs concerned about player selections and doping in Sort

The report, drafted by Manolis MAVROMMATIS (EPP-ED, EL) welcomes the Commission's July 2007 White Paper on Sport and emphasises the important role of sport in society. It notes that about 60% of EU citizens regularly participate in sporting activities within or outside some 700,000 clubs, and that sport in a broader sense generated € 407 billion in value-added in 2004 (3.4% of EU GDP)  and employment for 15 million people (5.4% of the labour force).

Stricter rules on doping, no quotas for football players from specific countries are among the proposals of the European Parliament in a report adopted by a large majority (518 in favour 49 against and 9 abstentions). The report calls for the Commission to come with clearer guidelines on how to apply EU rules in the area of sport. Parliament also voices concern about the possible deregulation of gambling markets.

No discrimination on nationality - but favour home-grown players

MEPs call on Member States and sports associations not to introduce new rules that will create discrimination on the basis of nationality, such as the rule of 6+5, where 6 players on the field in the beginning of the match will have to be from the country of the club they are playing for. They also call on the Commission to recognise the legality of measures that favour a minimum number of locally trained players and believe that the UEFA-rule on home grown players by which a minimum number of players in a team should be trained in the club or in the same league is better.

Stop human trafficking and favour home-grown players

Immigration laws should always be respected when recruiting new talented players to the European playing fields say MEPs, who call on the sports governing bodies to engage in the fight against human trafficking, subscribe to a European Charter for solidarity, create a solidarity fund to finance programmes in the countries most affected by human trafficking and review the FIFA rules of transfer in relation to the protection of minors. MEPs urge the Commission to openly express it self in favour of the of stricter application of the FIFA regulations banning transfers of players aged under 16 within the EU and endorsing the principle that players should sign their first professional contract with the club which has trained them. MEPs also believe that the sports governing bodies should improve the rules concerning players' agents, and call on the Commission to support this initiative - if necessary by proposing a directive.

Fight against doping

Doping is a key concern for MEPs, as it undermines transparency and fair competition. Policies to prevent and combat doping should include avoiding excessively busy sports calendars that put pressure on the athletes, say MEPs, who also call on professional clubs and sports organisations to adopt a pledge to combat doping and invite the Commission to consider treating trade in illicit doping substances in the same way as trade in illicit drugs.