The EGLSF was represented at the 2017 EU Sports Forum, which was held in St Julian’s, Malta on the 8th 9th March. The EU Sports Forum is a gathering of EU sport stakeholders that is organized by the European Commission every year. Over the two very windy days in Malta, there were interesting exchanges and debates on a number of pertinent topics for sport. These discussions were more relevant as the second EU Work Plan for Sport will be closing shortly.
The time was used to take stock and evaluate, adjust and progress in defending the integrity if sport, promoting sporting values, social inclusion and health. The opportunities from the Digital Single Market was also on the table, and an interesting talk from the eSport professional player for AFC AJAX, Koen Weijland, showed how sports clubs are strengthening ties with their younger fans. This might be an interesting opportunity for our community to embrace the eSport culture, and maybe have it as an event for the EuroGames in Rome in 2019.
The integrity of sport has been severely damaged, and there is a call for all institutions to work together at all levels to restore it and build public trust. The EGLSF have 3 Erasmus+ projects running at the moment, The Voice, Heroes of Football and Queering Football, and the Forum proved to be a great launching pad to inform the rest of Europe the work we are involved with. The end of the conference was marked with a high level discussion on good governance practices in European sport, and grass roots sports.
There is clearly still a large amount of work to be done around our core values of acceptance, diversity and inclusion, but now the EGLSF is known as the specialists in this area, and already there are requests for information and how other institutions and federations can benefit from our knowledge.