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White Paper on sport



White Paper on Sport (COM(2007) 391 final)


  • This white paper was one of the European Commission’s main contributions to the theme of sport and its role in the daily lives of European Union (EU) citizens.
  • It recognised the impact which sport can have on other EU policies.
  • It also identified the needs and specific characteristics of the world of sport.
  • It opened up future prospects for sport at EU level, while respecting EU law, the principle of subsidiarity and the independence of sports organisations.



  • The main objectives of the white paper were to:

    • set strategic guidelines;
    • encourage debate on specific problems;
    • give sport a higher profile in the EU decision-making process;
    • highlight the needs and specific characteristics of the sector;
    • identify the appropriate level of government for future action.
  • More specifically, the Commission sought to use the white paper to:

    • ensure that the sport dimension is fully reflected in all areas of EU policy;
    • increase legal clarity as regards the application of the EU’s acquis to sport and thereby help to improve sports governance in the EU.


The white paper addressed 3 themes:

Action plan

  • Along with the white paper, the Council adopted a work plan for 2014-2017. A new EU work plan for sport running from July 2017 to December 2020 is under way.
  • The 2014-2017 work plan includes a range of specific measures relating to the social and economic aspects of sport, such as health, social inclusion, voluntary work, education or external relations. These are as follows:

    • developing guidelines on physical activity and setting up a European network to promote sport as a health-enhancing activity;
    • fighting against doping in sport more effectively at European level;
    • awarding a European label to schools which encourage involvement in physical activities;
    • launching a study on voluntary work in sport;
    • improving social inclusion and integration through sport, using EU programmes and resources;
    • promoting the sharing of information, experiences and good practices between law-enforcement services and sports organisations in order to prevent racism and violence;
    • collecting statistics that quantify the economic impact of sport and on which policy can be based;
    • reviewing the public and private financing of sport;
    • carrying out further work on the activities of players’ agents and the added value of possible EU action in this area (the subject of a 2011 Commission communication);
    • better structuring of dialogue on sport at EU level, especially through an annual forum on sport;
    • stepping up intergovernmental cooperation on sports issues;
    • promoting the creation of European social dialogue committees in the sports sector, and providing support for employers and employees.


The Commission monitors the progress of initiatives through a structured dialogue with all the organisations involved in sport:

Promoting partnerships and events

The Erasmus+ programme provides opportunities for sports organisations, public authorities and other organisations that contribute to the EU’s sports priorities. It supports projects designed to promote collaborative partnerships, events, evidence-based policy- making, and dialogue with sports organisations. The Erasmus+ Programme focuses on grassroots sport and pursues the following specific objectives:

  • tackling threats to the integrity of sport that involve more than one country, such as doping, match-fixing and violence, as well as intolerance and discrimination of all kinds;
  • promoting and supporting good governance in sport and dual careers of athletes;
  • promoting voluntary activities in sport, together with social inclusion, equal opportunities and awareness of the importance of health-enhancing physical activity through increased participation in, and equal access to, sport for all.


  • Sport, as a social and economic phenomenon, helps achieve the EU’s strategic objectives of solidarity and prosperity. It conveys the concepts of peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and education, in line with the European ideal.
  • For more information, see:


White Paper – White Paper on Sport (COM(2007) 391 final, 11.7.2007)


Commission Staff Working Document – The EU and Sport: Background and Context — Accompanying document to the White Paper on Sport (SEC(2007) 935 final, 11.7.2007)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Developing the European Dimension in Sport (COM(2011) 12 final, 18.1.2011)

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 21 May 2014 on the European Union Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017) (OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, pp. 12-17)

last update 10.07.2017