Red Card to Commission’s Proposals on Sport

Conservative MEP denounces Commission White Paper on Sport

Brussels, 8th May 2008 — Today the EU began its interference in the world of sport, with the European Parliament asking the Commission to introduce EU-wide regulations.

The vote follows calls from FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, for the implementation of a ‘six-plus-five rule’, in which no team in any domestic league may start a match with fewer than six players from the country where that team is based, and no more than five foreigners. Although the EU has assured it will not interfere with sports governing bodies, the European Commission and many MEPs have already attacked Blatter’s plans, claiming they are discriminatory under European law. Further Commission proposals in the White Paper include a ‘European police force for sport’.

Conservatives in the European Parliament have raised concerns that the EU’s interference in sport will harm the enjoyment of fans and waste money through additional administrative burden. Commenting on the White Paper, Sir Robert Atkins MEP and former Minister for Sport said:

“Politicians should not be interfering in sport, but the EU seems determined to add bureaucracy to anything it can. Sport should be run by the people who know it best - leagues, clubs and governing bodies - and certainly not by MEPs. Sport does have some problems, but the solutions suggested by the Parliament are misguided and far too prescriptive.”

Sir Robert added:

“This White Paper does nothing to address the problems of amateur or professional football. Instead of criticising or trying to regulate it, we should just enjoy the fantastic entertainment that football provides. MEPs, and politicians in general, should stick to watching sport instead of trying to regulate it.”

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