On 19 June in Brussels, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar participated at a meeting and discussion of key persons from the European Union sports and Olympic Committees “EU Sport Policy: quo vadis?” In the discussion panel, Saar presented the main topic in sports during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union – the role of coaches in the society.
The European Evening of Sport, a high-level meeting of sports representatives and policymakers, took place for the fifth time. The event is organised by the European Olympic Committees (EOC). On the eve of the Estonian Presidency, the event in Brussels was opened by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee. The focus of the meeting was on the EU Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020, adopted at the end of May by the EU sports ministers. The plan concentrates on three thematic areas: sports integrity, economic dimension and sport & society. Estonia is the first EU Presidency to implement this strategic document.
According to Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, the task Estonia has been given is an honourable one. “One of our first tasks during the Presidency is to coordinate forming the EU position for the WADA anti-doping codex that has been opened for amendment in June. Out of the main topics of the Work Plan for Sport, the first one we will start work on is the priority topic of our Presidency in the area of sports, which is the role of coaches in the society,” said Saar.
He went on to explain that coaches are the key persons in the area of sports, because their activities have an impact on millions of people. In addition to sports, they also have an impact on other areas, such as health care. “Highlighting the role of coaches as teachers of values and necessary life skills, designers of activity habits that raise the quality of life, and as persons that foster cohesion in society is something quite innovative and topical for Member States, as well as the EU in the wider sense. In addition, coaches are the ones who teach the basic principles of fair game, and these principles are particularly important not only in sports but in the society in the wider sense,” noted Saar.
The EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics expressed pleasure over the fact that Estonia has chosen specifically the role of coaches as a priority in sports for the Presidency. “I am very pleased to note that the role of coaches in sport will be a priority for the incoming Estonian Presidency. Investing in coaches is a must: they can play a powerful role in making the world of sport more diverse, competitive and accountable,” noted the commissioner.
“I believe that we need to put coaches at the heart of our common EU priorities. This includes promoting diversity and better access to the profession for women and ethnic minorities. The newly adopted EU Work Plan for Sport can help us take these efforts forward. I am looking forward to discussing the role of coaches with Member States during the next 6 months,” the commissioner said.
From July to December 2017, Estonia is for the first time holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Read more about the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU here. Read more about the Estonian Presidency’s priorities in culture and sports here.
See photos of the event here.
Adviser on Sports, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Chair of the Estonian Presidency working group on sports