EU Athletes has noted the report and recommendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Commission which were approved by the IOC Executive Board on the 21st of April 2021. We are deeply concerned by the decision taken by the IOC and believe that the consultation process and the rule 50 itself are not compatible with the human rights of athletes.
By restricting its consultation to the Athletes Committees and Commissions, the IOC Athlete Commission disregarded the voices of thousands of athletes being represented by the independent unions and associations, as well as their human rights such as freedom of association and the right to organize. Regardless of numerous issues related to the methodology of the IOC AC consultation, there is no survey that could change the fact that freedom of speech and expression are universally recognized human rights that athletes enjoy.
The IOC’s approach to freedom of speech and expression consists of an attempt to restrict, redefine and control the way that the athletes exercise their fundamental human right. Threatening to sanction athletes who peacefully protest on issues such as racism is not only inconsistent with human rights, but also goes against the values that the IOC claims to support.
The idea that a sport organization can restrict or redefine the human rights of athletes is simply unacceptable. These rights, including the right to protest, are recognized and guaranteed by national constitutions and international human rights instruments. We are calling on governments, international organizations, and sport stakeholders to encourage the IOC to amend rule 50 and allow peaceful demonstrations on issues that are important to athletes and wider society.
EU Athletes continues to work to ensure that the athletes we represent enjoy the same fundamental rights as any other European citizen. We are committed to working with our members and the player association movement to support athletes who wish to peacefully protest or demonstrate on issues such as human rights or social justice, in whatever way they choose.
Every year since 2014, the 15th of April is an opportunity to show the commitment and make a stand against match-fixing. This awareness raising initiative consists of a social media campaign that can be supported by all stakeholders: public authorities, sports organizations, betting operators and regulators, athletes, coaches, referees, fans and other organizations and people who care about the integrity in sport.
Match-fixing is widely recognized as a major threat for today’s sport, undermining the integrity of the game. Because of organized crime involvement, it can put athletes and other individuals at serious danger. If not acted upon, the corruption could lead to loss of public faith and ultimately destroy sports that we all love. Considering the complexity and gravity of the problem, it requires commitment, cooperation and coordination between different stakeholders and an active involvement of athletes and their associations.
For Paulina Tomczyk, the General Secretary of EU Athletes: ‘With the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 on sport and the increased risks for organized crime involvement and sport corruption, the continuous focus on the integrity of sport is crucial. Athlete associations want to be a part of the solution, and I am happy to see the campaign develop and grow, with more stakeholders showing their support every year’.
This year, the #EUSportIntegrityDay campaign has seen a significant support. Its has been promoted by player and athlete associations alongside several public and private stakeholders in the fight against match fixing, including the European Commission, Sports Group of the European Parliament and Interpol.
For more information about the campaign, you can visit the website.
EU Athletes is looking for an intern to support the team in management and implementation of ongoing European-wide projects. The internship will also include daily communication and administrative tasks, as well as development and policy work in different areas, according to the profile and preferences of the successful candidate.
The position will provide an excellent opportunity to gain work experience in the professional sport sector, working for independent organisation representing European athletes from different sports.
Timing and conditions: 4-5 months paid internship, starting in April 2021. Remote work, with possible travel within Europe (depending on the situation).
Profile of the intern:
- Student currently enrolled in Master’s degree programme or a recent graduate;
- Knowledge of Erasmus+ programme and methodology of projects management;
- Excellent writing, summarizing and reporting skills,
- Computer and social media skills;
- Sociable, with strong communication and people skills;
- Strong organizational skills; autonomy, mobility and flexibility;
- Fluent in English, knowledge of other European languages is a plus.
An interest in the professional sports environment is an advantage, as well as a sensitivity for (sports) trade unionism and the rights of athletes. Finally, a reflection/knowledge on the impact of the European law and policies on the professional sports sector would be highly appreciated.
Interested candidates are asked to send their application (CV and a short cover letter) before the 25th of March 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews, which will take place at the end of March.
Contact: Paulina Tomczyk, General Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
EU Athletes is proud to announce its recently concluded cooperation agreement with Johan Cruyff Institute, a recognized institution educating athletes, sport and business professional to become leaders in Sport Management. Johan Cruyff Institute will offer EU Athletes’ members special conditions to access its academic training in Sport Management, Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, Football Business and Coaching as a result of the agreement signed between the two entities.
“I believe our cooperation will have a direct and positive effect on many athletes that we represent, by expanding their future opportunities and therefore improving their well-being.” – said Paulina Tomczyk, the General Secretary at EU Athletes. “For EU Athletes and for our members, education, personal development and dual career opportunities for athletes are key priorities. This partnership will facilitate and promote our member athletes’ participation in the wide range of programs that Johan Cruyff Institute offers,” she added. “It is essential that athletes gain knowledge, develop interests and skills, and explore their identity outside of the game. I believe our cooperation will have a direct and positive effect on many athletes that we represent, by expanding their future opportunities and therefore improving their well-being.”
EU Athletes welcomes the General Court Judgment in Case T-93/18 International Skating Union v Commission announced yesterday. The judgment confirms that the rules of the International Skating Union (ISU) providing for severe penalties for athletes taking part in speed skating events not recognised by it are contrary to EU competition law.
The decision is the result of a courageous decision of two Dutch speed skaters, Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt to challenge their sports restrictive and unfair rules. The General Court upheld that, by depriving the athletes of a chance to compete in commercial events by imposing unfair and disproportionately punitive rules, the ISU abused its dominant market position to pursue its own commercial interests to the detriment of athletes and organizers of competing events.
Paulina Tomczyk, EU Athletes General Secretary said: ‘The General Court’s decision reaffirms that the sport organizations engaging in an economic activity have to operate within the EU law. The ruling provides welcomed clarity of the limits of the concept of the ‘Specificity of sport’. It’s an important step towards making the global sport governance fairer and making sure it respects athletes’ rights and interests.’
EU Athletes has been supporting Mark and Niels since their initial complaint back in 2014. We have represented the interest of the European athletes that are or might be affected by similar unfair rules imposed by their sport governing bodies. The skaters and EU Athletes intervened in the proceeding at the General Court in support of the Commission.
We would like to express our thanks to Bas Braeken and Jade Versteeg from Bureau Brandeis, who represented us and the skaters as third interested parties in the case and as well as to Ben van Rompuy for his ongoing support.
EU Athletes President, Brendon Batson OBE underlined the crucial role of the athletes in bringing a positive change in the world of sport: ‘Once again, we applaud Mark and Niels for their bravery and commitment to pursuing this case, which will significantly improve the situation of thousands of athletes around the world and help to modernise sports competitions. It is also an important message to sport federations that they should work in partnership with the stakeholders, especially the athletes, to develop the rules and the sport itself’.