June International Tours

EU White Paper a ‘missed opportunity’



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The IRB has registered its disappointment in an EU White Paper on sport released on Wednesday, calling the lack of action contained within a ‘missed opportunity’.

Rugby’s governing body was one of many organisations, including the International Olympic Committee and soccer’s UEFA, to have pleaded to the EU to accept that sport is, whilst being a business, a unique environment that would require special legislation.

The main problems to be addressed were the employment laws and restrictions on non-national players within a team/country, the role and regulation of agents and transfers, and the maintenance of competitive balance.

While the White Paper acknowledged the need for sport to be recognised as an entity unto itself within legislation because of its unique environment, rather than as a part of EU business legislation, there was precious little action promised by the EU beyond ‘dialogue’ with the governing bodies.

The IRB released a statement on Wednesday registering their disappointment at the apparent unwillingness of the EU to take action.

“The International Rugby Board (IRB) acknowledges the publication of the European Union (EU) White Paper on Sport, however, in common with FIFA and the IOC it believes this is a huge missed opportunity,” it read.

“The IRB welcomed and contributed to the White Paper initiative as it was originally intended to provide a solution to the problems confronted by sport as result of the fact that sport is not mentioned in the EU Treaty and therefore its unique nature is not properly taken into account in the application of EU Law.

“The IRB believes that further work needs to be done to ensure that the negative implications for sport flowing from the White Paper in its current form are minimised and long term damage to fundamental sporting imperatives such as competitive balance, mutual dependency and solidarity at all levels of sport is avoided.

“The IRB’s European Regional Association, FIRA-AER, has come out in support of other European Sporting Federations including UEFA, FIBA Europe, and the European Handball Federation, that have today publicly expressed concerns with the White Paper.

“Although EU Law is intended to apply to countries within the EU, policies and laws adopted by European institutions, particularly in a sporting context, have global implications.

“International Federations adopt standardised regulations which are applied on a global basis in order to maintain a level playing field, to increase the chances of competitive balance and to establish a coherent regulatory structure.

“In short this is not a European issue but a global sporting problem and therefore the European Commission needs to better recognise the views and opinions of the international Sporting Federations.

“Moving forward the IRB in concert with other global and European sporting bodies will continue to work with the EU Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission, in order to ensure the appropriate inclusion of sport in the Reform Treaty and any other relevant European regulatory initiatives.”


365 Digital

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