Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-260"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Belet, for his contribution to the report on the future of professional football in Europe. In my view, Europe is going through a period of particular uncertainty and is experiencing a stage of reflection. This can also be seen in a human dimension that is very important for European citizens, which is sport in general and football in particular, because of their educational function and the role they play in social and cultural integration and also in combating discrimination. This integration process was caused in part by the positive effects produced by the Bosman ruling, which in 1995 set out to create freedom of movement for football players. In this context it should, however, be pointed out that professional football constitutes an economic activity recognised by Article 2 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. On the financial level the integration referred to has not been fully implemented, partly because of distortions in competition on the football market, caused by differing tax systems in the various countries of the Union. Thus, in some countries taxation is advantageous, allowing their clubs to pay footballers quite a lot more than the payments that other clubs’ budgets can withstand. Finally, we should not neglect to highlight, again with regard to football, that the proposal for Community harmonisation in the allocation of television rights is not a real priority. This is because of the historical, cultural and above all market differences between the various European Union countries, as well as the conflict with the principle of subsidiarity as a basic principle that ought to be respected. Mr President, five years ago in this Chamber I put forward the need for a European sports agency. I believe that today it is more necessary than ever."@en1

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