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EU Council: the economic dimension of sport and its socio-economic advantages

EU Council: the economic dimension of sport and its socio-economic advantages

Brussels, 26-27/11/2018.

The Council of Ministers for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport met in Brussels at the end of November 2018.  The Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, and the Minister of Culture and Sport, José Guirao, attended from Spain.

Ministers held a public debate on the major sporting events as drivers for innovation, together with Mr. Martin Kallen, CEO of UEFA Events (EURO 2020). The debate was based on a Presidency discussion paper, which highlights the links between major sporting events and innovation, including patent applications and new technologies applied to sport events.

Ministers also adopted conclusions on the economic dimensions of sport and its socio-economic benefits. The aim is to recognise sport as a driver for growth and jobs, as well as a means to improve the health and social conditions of citizens

Ministers broadly agreed that sport had a major influence in various areas. It was not only the performance of athletes that sport-driven innovation increased. New digital technologies, improved road infrastructure and environment-friendly venues are among the numerous examples of the spill over effects of sport in other sectors of the economy.

Ministers also agreed that the major sporting events contributed to the economic development of theregions and countries where they took place and provided for the construction of sporting venues which could be used by professional athletes and the public in the long term.

Research and innovation are one of the Austrian Presidency's priorities, seen as a generic policy area that has to be put to work for all sectoral policies, including sport. The economically strong European sports industry is constantly innovating and has therefore become a leader in certain technologies. At EU level, the number of patent applications in the field of sport has been increasing slightly, but now fluctuates around 1 500 applications per year.