Declaration on the specific characteristics of sport and its social Function in Europe (NICE 2000) 1. 6.

Author: Zsuzsanna Kovács, Zsuzsanna Antal

Keywords: declaration, sport for all, protection of young sportsmen and – women, solidarity


The European Council has noted the report on sport submitted to it by the European Commission in Helsinki in December 1999 with a view to safeguarding current sports structures and maintaining the social function of sport within the European Union.

The European Council hopes in particular that the cohesion and ties of solidarity binding the practice of sports at every level, fair competition and both the moral and material interests and the physical integrity of those involved in the practice of sport, especially minors, may be preserved.


Sport is a human activity resting on fundamental social, educational and cultural values. It is a factor making for integration, involvement in social life, tolerance, acceptance of differences and playing by the rules.

Sporting activity should be accessible to every man and woman, with due regard for individual aspirations and abilities, throughout the whole gamut of organized or individual competitive or recreational sports.

For the physically or mentally disabled, the practice of physical and sporting activities provides a particularly favourable opening for the development of individual talent, rehabilitation, social integration and solidarity and, as such, should be encouraged.

The Member States encourage voluntary services in sport, by means of measures providing appropriate protection for and acknowledging the economic and social role of volunteers, with the support, where necessary, of the Community in the framework of its powers in this area.

Role of sports federations

The European Council stresses its support for the independence of sports organizations and their right to organize themselves through appropriate associative structures. It recognizes that, with due regard for national and Community legislation and on the basis of a democratic and transparent method of operation, it is the task of sporting organizations to organize and promote their particular sports, particularly as regards the specific sporting rules applicable and the make-up of national teams, in a way which they think best reflects their objectives.

It notes that sports federations have a central role in ensuring the essential solidarity between the various levels of sporting practice, from recreational to top-level sport, which co-exist there; they provide the possibility of access to sports for the public at large, human and financial support for amateur sports, promotion of equal access to every level of sporting activity for men and women alike, youth training, health protection and measures to combat doping, acts of violence and racist or xenophobic occurrences.

These social functions entail special responsibilities for federations and provide the basis for the recognition of their competence in organizing competitions.

While taking account of developments in the world of sport, federations must continue to be a key feature of a form of organization providing a guarantee of sporting cohesion and participatory democracy.

Protection of young sportsmen and women

The European Council underlines the benefits of sport for young people and urges the need for special heed to be taken, in particular by sporting organizations, to the education and vocational training of top young sportsmen and women, in order that their vocational integration is not jeopardized because of their sporting careers, to their psychological balance and family ties and to their health, in particular the prevention of doping. It appreciates the contribution of associations and organizations which minister to these requirements in their training work and thus make a valuable contribution socially.

Economic context of sport and solidarity

The sale of television broadcasting rights is one of the greatest sources of income today for certain sports. The European Council thinks that moves to encourage the mutualisation of part of the revenue from such sales, at the appropriate levels, are beneficial to the principle of solidarity between all levels and areas of sport.


European Council – Nice, 7-10 DECEMBER 2000, Declaration on the specific characteristics of sport and its social function in Europe, of which account should be taken in implementing common policies. Retrieved from:, 2018.02.08

Draft declaration on the specific characteristics of sport and its social function in Europe, of which account should be taken in implementing common policies. Retrieved from:, 2018.02.08)

Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies. Retrieved from:, 2018.02.08