Labour must give the red card to tomorrow’s Commission proposals on sport

Strasbourg 11th July — Two weeks after sports policy sneaked into the revived EU constitution at Blair’s last summit, the European Commission will tomorrow reveal its long-awaited White Paper on Sport. Conservatives urge the Government to ensure that the report is shelved and a new consultation started to avoid confusion as to who now is responsible for overseeing sport in the UK.

Says Sir Robert Atkins MEP, former Minister for Sport:

“Having spoken with many sporting federations and associations, I am concerned that this White Paper comes at completely the wrong time and in the wrong context. When the Commission started this process, the EU had absolutely no competence in sport and the language in the White Paper reflects this. Now, however, sport is one of the many areas that has sneaked into the European Constitution, which moves the legal goalposts.

“Understandably, many people involved in the world of sport are now concerned that this White Paper is too weak in some areas, and too vague in others. Politicians should not be interfering in sport, but as the EU seems determined to do it, it is essential that sporting organisations are involved at every stage. We need a proper consultation across all sports at all levels, not something hidden away in an obscure corner of the Commission’s website.

Sport should never have been included in the Constitution agreed 3 weeks ago, but as it is, the Commission should withdraw this White Paper, re-consult and reconsider its conclusions.

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