On the 28th of January the kick-off meeting of PROLead, the new 3-years project funded by the Erasmus+ Program, took place in Amsterdam. PROLead aims to improve dual career opportunities for professional athletes by providing tailored leadership training for current and retired athletes.
EU Athletes is responsible to coordinate the 9 partners taking part into the project, which are: Professional Players Federation (PPF), Gaelic Players Association (GPA) Rugby Players Ireland (RPI), Ube Union Basketteurs d’Europe (UBE), The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA), Fédération Nationale des Associations et Syndicats de Sportifs (FNASS), Asociación de Jugadores y Jugadoras de Voleibol (AJJV), Asociacion de Jugadores de Futbol Sala (AJFS), Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (DSHS).
Running for 3 years, until December 2022, the project is structured in three main phases:
- The review of current leadership education for athletes across Europe and identify good practices for teaching leadership to players;
- The design and delivery of a European-wide one-year leadership education course for player association staff and volunteers;
- The design and delivery of 7 national leadership programs for athletes in 6 different countries.
Innovation is an important aspect that differentiates the program, as the project is athlete led, specifically tailored for their needs and focused on soft skills that will be useful on on and off the pitch. The expected outcome of PROLead is to help athletes to get a satisfying job after the professional sport careers, as well as strengthen the relationship between players and their associations, which can benefit also by reinforcing their network with other players associations around Europe.
The kick-off meeting gathered all the partners of the project to discuss and outline their roles, responsibilities and strategies in order to successfully carry out the project.
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The third awareness raising session on combating sport manipulation and match fixing, within the framework of EU-financed Project Integrisport Erasmus+, was held in Vilnius, Lithuania, between 2-4 December. It was co-organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Lithuanian Sport Centre, together with CSCF-Foundation for Sport Integrity.
The productive debate was an occasion to discuss, with the representatives of Lithuanian Law Enforcement and Judiciary, the problematics concerning sport manipulation and match fixing, providing them with insights and recommendations to face and combat this spreading issue.
As representative of players, EU Athletes has been called on stage to share the perspective of the athletes and the work that, alongside its members, is carrying on to fight against match fixing. PROtect Integrity, the project founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, was presented to the audience, depicting the key aspects and benefits for the professional athletes, including the player=led Red Button reporting App.
The Integrisport Erasmus+ awareness raising sessions provide the local law and juridical enforcement with a better knowledge and comprehension about the dangers of sport manipulation on society.
The next session will take place in Helsinki in February 2020.
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On the #HumanRightsDay the World Player Association launches its first global study on child athletes’ experience in collaboration with Loughborough University. EU Athletes is involved in the development and dissemination of the project with three of its affiliates (Associación de Jugadores de Fútbol-Sala, the Norwegian Players’ Association (NISO) and The Cyclist Alliance), alongside International Rugby Players, Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) and Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA).
The pilot study, called Project CARE (Census of Athletes Rights Experiences), is the first that looks into the childhood experiences of professional players; it will last two years and aims to change the way the rights of child athletes are promoted and protected throughout world sport, by building recommendations for sport governing bodies and player associations that will help to prevent child rights violation from happening. The origin of the project arises from the need to draw the attention to young athletes’ education and protection, as the institutions that govern sport have ignored, from a policy point of view, their responsibility to put children’s best interests at the top of their priorities.
Project CARE involves athletes through an anonymous survey, available in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Japanese), to get information and data about their experiences when they were child athletes. The survey includes sections to assess respondents’ demographic profile; recognition of their rights; factors related to their development; support for their individual and collective power, participation and voice; experiences of different forms of violence (physical and emotional as well as sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation); experiences of help and protection; current sporting performance and indicators of personal well-being. Due to the nature of some questions that could be distressing, the World Player Association will make sure that local services and self-care resources are supporting psychologically the athletes, as declared by Gigi Alford, Director of Sport and Human Rights of the World Players Association.
The survey, which results are expected on Spring 2020, is online and shareable via email or messaging platforms.
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We are a proud partner of PEAK, an international project coordinated by the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), aiming to develop coaching policy recommendations for use by sport federations, coaching bodies and governments. EU Athletes is collaborating with a unique consortium of expert partners, including the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE), German Sport University Cologne, Finnish Olympic Committee, Sport Ireland Coaching, Swiss Federal Institute of Sport, and the Foundation of Sport Education and Information in Estonia to offer a comprehensive portrait of coaching and coach education across Europe and beyond. PEAK started on January 2019 and it is planned to run until December 2021.
The main objective of the project, founded by European Union ERASMUS+ programme, is to promote and support good governance in sport, focusing on four pivotal key aspects:
- The coaching system at the organisational and national levels (education, licensing, recruitment, ethics, representation, working conditions, quality assurance);
- Voluntarism in coaching;
- Opportunities for women in coaching;
- The regulation of coaching.
The project will be led by 6 crucial questions about new policies and their decision-making process in Europe, outlining the roles, responsibilities and status of coaching; as well as going through best practices to include coaching development in sports organizations’ strategies, to increase opportunities for women and to enhance the effectiveness of good governance measures.
The final result of the project consists in the production of 7 documents that will go beyond the 6 guiding questions to provide evidence based foundation for the project; determine criteria for inclusion of the examples of good practice; gather examples of coaching policies in European countries; present model policies related to the different elements of a coaching system and a set of policy recommendations; support organizations to assess the current status of their coaching system and related policies; provide European sport federations, governments and coaching organizations with a recommended process to collaboratively develop coaching policy.
Check out the brand new website at www.peak-coachingeu.com for updates and make sure to follow PEAK on Twitter and Facebook
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EU Athletes, as a partner in Integrisport Erasmus+ project, took part in the event in Budapest in order to talk about player unions role and work when it comes to fighting against match-fixing. During the 3-day training organized specially for members of the Hungarian Police, as well as the National Tax and Customs Administration, the Hungarian Prosecution Service and judges of the Hungarian Criminal Court, participants had an opportunity to discuss openly sport manipulation and match fixing and how this phenomenon has been affecting Hungary.
International experts including the Vice Federal Prosecutor of the Belgian Federal Prosecution Service and representatives from the EU Athletes and Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and from the coordinator of Integrisport Erasmus+, CSCF-Foundation for Sport Integrity. animated the exchange. Their contributions were accompanied by national expertise from the Hungarian Football Federation, the Hungarian Football Player’s Union, the Hungarian Lottery, Szerencsejáték Zrt, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Hungarian Prosecution Service.
The Hungarian Police and CSCF-Foundation for Sport Integrity also informed the participants of the activities of the Hungarian National Platform related to the Council of Europe Convention on Manipulations of Sports Competitions including international co-operation.
As Lt. Colonel Zita Zmolnik, Deputy Director of the National Investigation Bureau, said in her opening speech: “National and international law enforcement and judicial co-operation, and the common thought of relevant public stakeholders and the private sector, are vital in order to successfully fight against this special type of crime phenomenon.” In order to combat sport manipulation, law enforcement and judicial authorities need to be prepared. This is where Integrisport Erasmus+ has an important role: by providing awareness raising to law enforcement agencies, which is crucial to achieve this aim.
Norbert Rubicsek, director of CSCF and Integrisport Erasmus+ project manager added, “Law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities are the primary stakeholders involved in the investigative and court phases of criminal law cases of manipulations of sports competitions. It is therefore extremely important that on the one hand they are well prepared and informed and on the other hand, that other stakeholders fully understand the role of these key stakeholders. Law enforcement and judiciary are the link to completing the chain in a sports manipulation criminal case and are also a vital link in identifying legislation that needs to be in place to effectively combat manipulations of sports competitions.
The Integrisport Erasmus+ awareness raising sessions in each partner country give law enforcement officers and judicial authorities the possibility to better understand and tackle the dangers of sport manipulation to sport and the society. Project partners include Cyprus Police, Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), Rapid Response and Special Police Force – Hungary, National Tax and Customs Administration – Hungary, Ministry of Security and Justice – the Netherlands, The Department of Physical Education and Sports – Lithuania, Ministry of Justice – Judicial Police – Portugal, Presidium of the Police Force, Ministry of Interior – Slovak Republic, GLMS – The Global Lottery Monitoring System, EU Athletes, Aix-Marseille University – Centre of Sport and the coordinator, Stichting CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity and the Council of Europe (CoE) as a supporting organisation. Integrisport is also a partner project of the KCOOS+ project of the CoE.
The next awareness raising session will be held in Vilnius in December 2019.
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With our Erasmus+ PROtect Integrity Plus project concluding by the end of the year, a final event has taken place in Athens, Greece on 8th of October to share the results and outputs of the project. The conference was attended by player associations and some of the key stakeholders in the fight against match-fixing which was a great opportunity to discuss the progress and further cooperation needed.
PROtect Integrity is a campaign started back in 2010 in cooperation with betting operators, in order to educate players about the integrity and risks of match fixing. Over the years a number of different projects have taken place under the banner, each project building up on its predecessor. PROtect Integrity Plus specifically aims to implement the Red Button reporting app, initially developed by Finish Football Players Association JPY and FIFPro, in 7 different countries and 5 sports, through the work of 8 player associations cooperating with national stakeholders.
In order to see how the match-fixing can affect the careers and lives of athletes, the participants have he from Samir Arab, Maltese football player banned for 2 years for not reporting an approach and Roy Vermeer from FIFPro who was representing Samir at the appeal case in CAS. The story highlights the need for more education, prevention and focus on governance of sport organizations as the sanction of Samir, considering all elements of the case, was widely regarded as unfair and disproportionate.
Subsequently, the results of the project so far were presented, including the Red Button app, research led by prof. David Forrest from the University of Liverpool and the grassroots sport video promoted by player associations during the European Week of Sport in order to broaden the reach of the campaign and raise awareness about the match-fixing. Player associations representatives from AJFSF (Spanish futsal), Rugby Players Ireland and PASAP (Greek volleyball) discussed their experiences and views following the implementation of the project. The case study of a fruitful cooperation between the National Platfrom and the player movement in France was also presented.
The conference concluded with a discussion panel with Matt Fowler (IBIA), Sergio D’Orsi (Europol), George Mavrotas (Greek Government), Mikhael de Thyse (Council of Europe) and Paulina Tomczyk (EU Athletes). The speakers discussed the cooperation between stakeholders in the new environment after the entry into force of the Macolin Convention.
For Paulina Tomczyk, the General Secretary of EU Athletes: ‘I find it really positive and promising for the future that some the main stakeholders in the fight against match-fixing joined the discussion and recognized the essential role that the athletes have to play in this process. We are looking forward to continuing the constructive cooperation with the key actors to protect the integrity of sport’.
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