“Sport for Good Governance” Project successfully concluded

On Tuesday 25 June 2013, the “Sport for Good Governance” Project (S4GG), managed by the EOC EU Office, held its Final Conference in Brussels, thereby concluding 18 months of intensive work. The Conference was held in the EU Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The agenda of the meeting included very interesting speakers. Yves Le Lostecque, the new Head of the Sport Unit of the European Commission, and Marc Theisen, member of the Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committees, were the keynote speakers. Yves Le Lostecque highlighted that it is not up to the Commission to define a single model of good governance. Marc Theisen pointed out that when it comes to good governance, considerable progress has already been made within the Olympic Movement. He also acknowledged the excellent work of the S4GG Project, praising the applied practical approach not only of assessing but also improving the implementation of good governance principles.

On top of that, two guest speakers provided practical insight on how good governance principles can be implemented: Georg von Waldenfels, Board Member of the International Tennis Federation and Marc Coudron, President of the Belgian Hockey Federation. Finally, Darren Bailey, Chair of the Council Expert Group on Good Governance, presented the work of the Expert Group, highlighting the progress made on the recommendation of principles in good governance.

The different presentations were followed by a panel discussion. Besides the guest speakers, the panel included Gianluca Monte, Sport Unit of the European Commission, Niels Nygaard, President of the NOC of Denmark, and Thierry Zintz, Dean at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve. The discussion focussed on the current situation and the future of good governance in sport. Four points of discussion in particular are worthy to note. A first point was the balance between volunteers and professionals within a sport organisation. A second question focused on the approach which is needed to implement good governance, with some panellists putting the responsibility on international federations (top-down approach) and others referring to the crucial role of grassroots sports organisations (bottom-up approach).
A third point was the role of public bodies in good governance in sport. Whereas all panellists agreed that good governance falls within the autonomy of sport, Darren Bailey stressed the fact that sport organisations need to act in order to avoid future intervention by public authorities, especially where public funding is involved.
The fourth and last point discussed was the financial cost of good governance. Good governance does not cost money, rather it is a way of thinking, a kind of mind-set, and is not an additional burden for sport organisations. Therefore, Folker Hellmund, Head of the EOC EU Office, claimed that money is saved when organisations work more efficiently and even attract more sponsors as a result of better governance.
Throughout the panel discussion, it became clear that good governance will remain high on the European agenda: good governance will also be included in the priorities of the sports chapter of the funding programme “Erasmus plus”.

Besides the many interesting presentations and the discussion panel, Matthias Van Baelen and Michael Trinker presented the project results and explained the Sport 4 Good Governance toolkit.
One of the main outcomes of the project is a toolkit designed to help sport organisations in implementing good governance principles. This toolkit, named “Key to Good Governance”, includes a master presentation, implementation examples and a very useful self-assessment tool. This toolkit as well as other information on the project can be found in the download section of this website: http://www.s4gg.eu/download-documents.

The EOC EU Office would like to thank all project partners once again for their contribution and active participation during the “Sport for Good Governance” Project.