Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-08-Speech-4-070"

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"Mr President, for a long time now, all the sports organisations have been calling for sport to be given greater significance and, indeed, greater visibility than has hitherto been the case, and we are acting on this call today. It will come into even sharper focus with the Lisbon Treaty. The many aspects of sport — its contribution to society, its role in personal development and fulfilment and in promoting social integration, etc. – have already been underlined. Sport is also a very important factor in promoting health, which is why it is worthwhile investing on a broad basis in sport, and particularly in physical education in schools. That is an investment that really would pay dividends. We are therefore appealing to every minister of education in the Member States to introduce a requirement for at least three hours of physical education in schools per week. That is the minimum, for otherwise, there is little point to it. There are 700 000 clubs and associations which are making an invaluable contribution to our society, and that is why I oppose the possible liberalisation of gambling and the lotteries, for at present around 10% of levies accrued from this industry go into sports, the arts and social amenities, and without this funding these organisations could not survive. I would ask everyone to be mindful of that. The important economic dimension of sport is borne out by the statistics: sport generated value-added of EUR 407 billion in 2004 and created 15 million jobs; there are other figures, too, which prove my point. That means that rules are needed. We need to strike a careful balance between the economic aspects of sport, transparency, sale of clubs, and licensing, as Mr Belet has just emphasised. Here, we need rules which are fair, so that 'fair play' has genuine and practical meaning. We need to make sure that there is appropriate redistribution between small and large clubs, so that we can develop the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen. In my view, there should be a more equitable balance in the media. There really is more to sport than football. Nonetheless, I would like to extend a warm invitation to everyone to come and enjoy the Euro 2008 games in Vienna. That is a major sporting event which I am certainly looking forward to."@en1

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