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Jeannot Krecké, Minister for Sports, representing the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, met the European sports federations and NGOs during a consultation meeting with the sports movement organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 15 June.
As Minister for Sports, Jeannot Krecké said he was very concerned about the current situation in the ratification process of the treaty to create a constitution for Europe. Like all the European Union sports ministers, he expects a great deal from Article III 282 of the treaty which finally recognises sports as a fully fledged policy area. "I would have preferred the sports movement to be more committed to adopting the treaty," he stated.
Minister Krecké took advantage of the opportunity to present the results of the Informal Conference of European Union Sports Ministers that was held in Luxembourg on 28 and 29 April. He expressed his satisfaction with being able to launch a debate on key topics, such as youth’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle, sport-related careers, athlete training, the free movement of athletes and anti-doping activities.
In particular, the minister mentioned problems relating to the free movement of workers and the principle of non-discrimination based on nationality. He stressed the specificity of sports that cannot ignore the reality of national teams. The minister argued in favour of taking the specificity of sports, which he compared to cultural diversity, into account.
On the issue of doping, Jeannot Krecké stated: "As an informed observer, I acknowledge that the sports world has made considerable progress in anti-doping with the adoption of the World Anti-Doping Code, the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Convention Against Doping that is about to be finalised at UNESCO." He mentioned the important role national anti-doping agencies play in ensuring frequent testing: "Each country needs an agency." He encouraged the European Commission to participate in anti-doping activities by cooperating with WADA. Becoming involved in the multitude of essential research in this field would be "a way in for the Commission."
Next Jeannot Krecké informed the sports federations of developments in the tense situation between FIFA and WADA: "FIFA is very active in anti-doping work but has not entirely transposed the World Anti-Doping Code." The minister, who wants to end the deadlock in the situation, served as mediator in his capacity as current President of the Council of the European Union. Thus he made contact with FIFA, WADA President Dick Pound, and his minister colleagues including Otto Schily, who is directly involved with the 2006 World Football Championships. The Minister is optimistic: "I have high hopes that we will find a solution by the end of June and then all the federations will be on board."
Stressing the important social function of sports, Minister Krecké concluded with a touch of humour: "There should not just be a right to sports, but an obligation to sports." He emphasised the "intrinsic value of sports per se".
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