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Sport

Sport has always been popular in Estonia. The proportion of recreational sport enthusiasts among the population is increasing each year and in 2014, 45% of the people living in Estonia had sport as a hobby. Each year, Estonian athletes win every year more than 125 medals on average at international competitions (2015 - 156, 2014 – 138, 2013 – 132, 2012 – 125, 2011 – 126), out of which about a tenth is from traditional Olympic sports. Since 1996, sport has been under the governance of the Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry of Culture helps with collecting sport statistics and giving out national annual and life’s work awards and organises sport-related foreign relations. It is the ministry’s responsibility to organise the work of the Estonian Sport Council and the Estonian Regional Sport Council.
 
The Ministry of Culture publishes the annual Estonian sport yearbook. At the ministry, the Sport Department analyses sport-related issues, makes propositions for ensuring the development of the domain, and drafts the relevant legislation. The department also devises the bases for the national funding of sport and stands for the principles of fair play in Estonian sport. 
 
Together with the Estonian Ski Association and Otepää rural municipality, the ministry is the founder of Tehvandi Sport Center foundation and the sole founder of the Jõulumäe Recreational Sport Centre foundation.
 
2014 was a Year of Sports in Estonia and as of 2015, we have celebrated the annual European Week of Sport.

 

The decentralisation of sport

Sport has been decentralised in Estonia and none of the national sport organisations is directly governed by the Ministry of Culture. Sport organisations are independent in their decisions.
 

The Estonian Olympic Committee

The umbrella organisation of sport is the Estonian Olympic Committee with 66 sport federations, 15 county sport associations, 4 city and town sport associations and 17 national sport associations among its members. There are also 19 individual persons among the members.

 

Statistics

 

  • There are around 3,500 professionally certified coaches and over 2,300 sport organisations in Estonia: oner around 2,000 sport clubs, 118 sport unions, 64 sport federations, 19 county, city, and town sport associations, and the National Olympic Committee. 
  • The clubs unite 145,043 sporting enthusiasts (roughly 10% of the population), including 85,049 people under 19.  (01.01.2016)
  • Out of the population of Estonia, 45% exercise on a regular basis.
  • There are around 2,600 sports facilities and exercise areas in Estonia.

 

 

Financing

 

Recreational, professional and youth sports receive support from the state as it is in its interests that the people of Estonia develop a habit of exercising. For this purpose the state supports various sports organisations, investing into new sports facilities and exercise areas and modernising the existing facilities. 

The ministry allocates funds from the state budget to approximately 45 sports federations, 15 county sports associations and 5 sports unions.
 
Additional support from the state budget is provided in this area through three programmes – for recreational exercise, swimming for beginners and organisation of international competitions. Each year the Ministry of Culture allocates two life’s work awards and six annual awards and twice a year there are opportunities to apply for a sports scholarship from the Ministry of Culture. Sports take up around a tenth of the ministry’s budget.
 
In Estonia, sports and exercise are also funded by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Council of Gambling Tax, and the Estonian Olympic Committee. Besides the Ministry of Culture, both the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Social Affairs support sports and recreational exercise.
 
Erasmus+ is a programme in the European Union’s new budget period of 2014–2020, which is going to unite the previous educational and youth work programmes. As a new measure, a programme for sports has been added.  
 

Legislation

 

In Estonia, the domain of sports is governed by the Sport Act which lays down the general organisational and legislative provisions on the organisation of sports, the rights and obligations of an athlete and a coach, an Olympic medallist’s bases for applying for and receiving national support, the bases for the financing of sport, as well as requirements for organising sports events and liability for a violation of the requirements.

Based on the Sports Act, the procedure of the Ministry of Culture for allocating the funds received from the state budget for the support of sports has been adopted. This document lays down the principles of funding sports federations, county sport associations and other sports organisations.
 
The allocation of sports scholarships and awards is governed by “The conditions and procedure of allocating state sports scholarships and awards”. 
 
The activities of and the collection of data at the Estonian Sports Registry is governed by the “General regulation for founding and maintaining the Estonian Sports Registry”.

On 18th of February 2015 the Riigikogu approved „The general Principes of the Estonian sports policy until 2030“ (PDF).
 

Sports policy

The objective of the sports policy is to help realise public interest in sports by creating the necessary sporting facilities.
 
The main directions of the national sports policy were formulated in 1998 at the Estonian sports congress and approved by the Government of the Republic. In 1998, the first Sports Act providing the general organisational and legal bases for the organisation and development of sports was adopted.
 
In 2006 the amended Sports Act entered into force, which, in addition, defined the requirements for organising sports events and formulated the essence of sports travel and a national support system for Olympic medallists.
 
The Estonian Regional Sports Council and the Estonian Sports Council are advisers of the government of the Republic and the Ministry of Culture in sports-related issues.
 

Sports Registry

In cooperation with the Foundation of Sports Training and Information, the Sports Department at the Ministry of Culture collects data on sports organisations, their members and coaches.
 
The data is accumulated at the Estonian Sports Registry (in Estonian).
 

The Biographical Lexicon of Estonian Sports

The Biographical Lexicon of Estonian Sports is a collection of abridged life stories of Estonian sports figures. The printed version of the lexicon, 1096 pages in length, has 6,000 articles, 4,300 of them printed with a portrait photo.
 
The e-book version of the lexicon is available on-line (in Estonian). 
 

Sports studies

The following institutions of higher education are engaged with sports studies:

International major competitions held in Estonia

Estonia has successfully organised international major competitions. In the recent years, the following major competitions have been held in Estonia:
  • Biathlon European Championships 2015
  • European Athletics U23 Championships
  • European Road Cycling Championships 2015
  • World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2015
  • One race of the FIS Cross Country World Cup 2015
  • One race of the World Rally Championship 2014, 2015
  • Junior EC - powerlifting 2013
  • Basketball U20 EC finals 2013
  • Track and field U20 EC 2012
  • Figure skating EC 2010.
Estonia has been granted the rights to organise the following competitions in 2016:
  • European Shooting Championship Juniors
  • One race of the European Rally Championship
  • Zoom8 World Championships in Sailing 2016
  • European Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships
  • World Schools Championship Basketball 3×3
  • World University Beach Volleyball Championships
  • European Championships in Aesthetic Group Gymnastics
  • Power Boat Racing World Championship classes GT-15, OSY-125 and O-400
 

International cooperation

 
Estonia is represented and participates in several international sporting organisations. The Sports Department at the Ministry of Culture takes part in the work of the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as the anti-doping fight and action against manipulating sports results. 

 

Estonia participating in the work of the European Union

 
In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, giving sports the same legal basis as other fields. In 2011, the first EU Work Plan for Sport 2011–2014 was adopted. Six expert groups were formed under this plan, and Estonia has also been an active member. Estonia takes part in the expert groups “Anti-Doping”, “Good governance in sport”, “Education and training in sport”, “Sport, health and participation”, “Sport statistics” and “Sustainable financing of sport”. 
 
Through the Work Plan for Sport, Estonia and other member states have fought against the use of doping and have made propositions to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for the process of amending their Code. Expert groups have been mapping several different fields in the EU and exchanged best practices. An overview, for example, has been compiled on how the coaches’ professional qualification system in the member states is implemented and how sport receives its funding. A joint endeavour was the drafting of good management principles, which are applied to the financing of sport organisations in Estonia as well.
 
Over the years we have adopted the EU Chairman’s conclusions and the Council’s recommendations on how to promote amateur sport and physical activity in member states. Estonia has participated in the EU organised studies, the results of which can be used in making decisions on sport policies and later comparing the effect of the decisions against other EU member states. 
 
During the EU Council Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Sport, which was held 21.05.2014, the second EU Work Plan for Sport (PDF) was adopted for 2014-2017  
 
 

Estonia participating in the work of the Council of Europe


The Council of Europe has a convention to fight negative aspects in sport. 
 
In 1983, the Council of Europe grew increasingly worried about the increasing violence in sport arenas and stadiums. In 1985, the European Convention on Spectator Violence was devised to combat the incidents of violence (full title: “European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sport Events and in particular at Football Matches”). The convention provides practical guidelines for the states on how to ensure the security against acts of violence in particular at large football matches. The implementation of the convention is supervised by a standing committee. More than 30 countries have joined the convention. From Estonia, officials from the Ministry of the Interior participate in the work of the committee.
 
The Anti-Doping Convention was ratified in 1989 by all 35 member states of the Council of Europe. According to the convention, the states that have joined it shall fight against doping by means of control programmes. These programmes limit the doping trade, devise testing methods for doping and improve existing control measures. They also support informational and educational programmes and ensure that punishments for using doping would be effective. There is close cooperation between the Council of Europe and WADA and the Council has two members with voting rights at WADA. The implementation of the convention is supervised by the Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention. Estonia takes part in the work of the monitoring group through the Ministry of Culture and the foundation Eesti Antidoping.
 
Currently, the Council of Europe is drafting a convention against the manipulation of sport results.
 
In the Council of Europe, the domain of sport is co-ordinated by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport of the Council of Europe
 

Cooperation in anti-doping fight

 
In June 2003, the government of the Republic signed the Copenhagen declaration, thereby acknowledging the principles of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and took the obligation to adhere to the WADA Code. The current Code has been in force since 1 January 2009 and is going to be replaced by a new one in 2015. The Code ensures that uniform anti-doping regulations and provisions apply for all athletes and all sports.
 
The mission of the foundation Eesti Antidoping is to promote healthy and fair sport – to carry out adequate doping tests, to educate various target groups on the fight against doping and to contribute to the international cooperation in the fight against doping. 
 
Up-to-date information on the fight against doping is available at the web page of the foundation Eesti Antidoping, along with the international regulations and codes, as well as Estonian anti-doping rules.
 

Cooperation in the fight against the manipulation of sport results 

 
Manipulation of sport results is considered one of the greatest threats in contemporary sports. It overshadows the value system of sport such as credibility, fair play and respect for others. At the Council of Europe’s conference of ministers of responsible of sport in Belgrade on 15 March 2012, EPAS, an organisation of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport was called to initiate negotiation in cooperation with the EU for an international convention that would address the issue of manipulation with sport results. The Ministry of Culture along with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and sport federations have played an active role in drafting the convention.
 
One of the main issues of the international fight against fixed matches is the necessity of the cooperation between all stakeholder groups, i.e. administrative agencies, law enforcement authorities, gambling regulators, sport movement in all its forms and gambling operators (lotteries and private person organisers). The future convention is supposed to create an international legal framework for preventing and combating the manipulation of sport results. The aim of the convention is to facilitate international cooperation in the area and to create a monitoring system to ensure that the provisions of the convention are met in an effective manner.
 
To date, drafting of the convention is in its final stages and by autumn 2014, it is supposed to be presented for signing by the ministers.    
 

Main partners

 

The Estonian Olympic Committee - the central umbrella organisation of sport.
 
The Sport for All Association - initiates and coordinates events for exercise and recreational sports. The association unites 65 exercise and recreational sport clubs and communities and is the coordinator of the national development plan of 2011–2014 for recreational sports.
 
The Estonian Sport Association, Jõud - unites county sport associations of Estonia.
 
County sport associations - unite county sport clubs, represent county sport in the Estonian Olympic Committee. County sport associations have exclusive right to organise county championships and hand out respective titles.
 
Sport Events Organisation Club - association founded in 2000 for the organisation of sport events, known under the Tallinn Marathon brand.  
 
Stamina Sport Club - organiser of recreational sports events and event series. 
 
Tartu Marathon Club - a non-profit with the purpose of organising public sport events.
Foundation of Sport Training and Information - state-centred unit for processing sport data The aim of the foundation is to pursue the development of sport as a public interest by collecting, systematising, analysing and distributing sport data.
 
Foundation Eesti Antidoping - foundation promoting healthy and fair sport, conducting doping testing and anti-doping education and developing international anti-doping cooperation.
 
Sport Medicine Foundation - foundation formed to pursue public interest by developing sport medicine and sport science and providing sport medicine services.
 
Tehvandi Sport Centre - sports centre with a stadium complex, conference centre and winter sport museum next to the town of Otepää.
 
Jõulumäe Recreational Sport Centre - sport centre located in Pärnu County, offering training opportunities for both professional athletes as well as recreational exercise.
 
The Estonian School Sport Union - voluntary association with the aim of developing school sport in Estonia. 
 
 

Margus Klaan
Adviser (sports)

Telephone 628 2328
Margus.Klaan@kul.ee