Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-08-Speech-4-062"

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"The Olympic flame is presently travelling across all the continents of the world, reminding us of the message of sport, for which we are indebted to the Greeks. They were of course the first to understand what a purifying role sport can play in human culture. Sport teaches us that people can compete with one another without causing harm, injury or even death; sport teaches fair play and offers everybody the same chances and the same rights. But modern times have made sport into a business, a milieu pervaded by the negative influences that we already encounter almost everywhere: money, corruption, lobbying, racial prejudice and also the new phenomenon of various performance-enhancing drugs, factors that damage the integrity of sport and reduce the positive potential that sport has for bringing up young people or breaking down barriers between peoples and races. Therefore I welcome the Commission’s work on the White Paper on Sport and I value Mr Mavrommatis’s report. Both documents warn of the need to protect sport as a cultural value. I would also personally like to emphasise even more the need to support sport at the amateur level too, to create the conditions needed for people to participate in recreational sporting activity, which is not easy, especially in large conurbations, as well as making it financially accessible, which is a limiting factor for the socially disadvantaged. Sport offers children and young people an alternative way of using their free time and being active. It can serve all the generations in the same spirit, so we should also not forget older citizens and should instead look for further ways of making it possible for them to join in sporting activity. Sport is a means of improving physical condition, but obviously it also influences the human psyche. Professional sport is only the apex of a pyramid whose base must be created by sporting activity involving the greatest number of people on our planet."@en1

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