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EU Conference: Kicking Violence Out Of Sport

Kicking violence out of sport: UEFA and EU host high-level conference against violence in sport

The European Commission, jointly with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council, the European Parliament and in association with UEFA, is holding a high-level conference entitled, "Towards a European Union Strategy against violence in sport" on 28 and 29 November 2007 in Brussels.

The distinguished participants include European Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini, European Commissioner Ján Figel', high ranking representatives from the Member States, members of the European Parliament, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and the UEFA President, Michel Platini.

The Commission Action Plan for Sport, named the Pierre de Coubertin Plan in honour of the Frenchman who founded the International Olympic Committee, was adopted in summer 2007 as part of the Commission's White Paper on Sport. The high-level conference is one of the first actions in the Plan.

The conference is bringing together a range of practical experience from more than 150 delegates from EU Member States. It aims at delivering a multi-disciplinary approach to the fight against violence in sport, and promoting day-to-day cooperation between all the stakeholders. The conference will send an important signal about the political commitment of all relevant European institutions and the Member States to combating violence in sport. The conference conclusions will focus on specific actions with the aim of building up a more structured dialogue between all stakeholders, including national and local governments, law enforcement agencies, judicial authorities and sport organisations.

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Vice President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, explained the significance of the event: "Violence in sport is clearly destructive and counter-productive. We must strengthen our efforts to prevent violence in particular as risk supporters can and do exploit variations in policing, judicial and instadia safety and security arrangements. But on its own, no country can find the best solutions for tackling hooliganism and violence in sport. The European Commission has a key role to play in that it can facilitate the active involvement of law enforcement services, judicial authorities, sports federations, supporters organisations and other stakeholders so that ultimately we can all enjoy sport peacefully. "

Mr Ján Figel', the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, including sport, continued: "Sport is an activity that benefits our health, but it also has an important societal and economic role, because it can strengthen social links and act as a catalyst for social integration. Sport can also mobilise the best and the worst in people. We must see how we can help sport fully develop its positive potential, while curbing those negative activities that spoil its beneficial impacts, such as violence. I am glad that with our Action Plan, and today's Conference, we can make tangible progress to prevent and reduce any kind of violence in sport."

UEFA President, Michel Platini, said: "At the beginning of the year I came to Brussels and in the presence of President Barroso, I denounced the evils that were menacing and continue to menace European sport. In February, somewhat provocatively, I launched the idea of a European police force for sport, but slowly my idea has taken of"f.

"Violence is a problem of society and as football is at the centre of our social lives, it is unfortunately common that the perpetrators of violence seek to take over a game as visible and popular as football. We must therefore act to protect sport and to give judges the means to enforce the law. UEFA already encourages partnerships between national associations, clubs and national police. Now sporting organisations, governments and the public forces of law and order must also co-operate."


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