HC Deb 04 November 1986 vol 103 cc381-2W
Mr. Murphy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the fifth conference of European Ministers responsible for sport.

Mr. Tracey

The United Kingdom was represented by officials from the Department and the director general of the Sports Council. The agenda was divided into two themes: progress in European sports co-operation 1984–1986; and items of current political concern. A number of resolutions were adopted, all of which were acceptable to the United Kingdom.

In particular, the conference agreed on the need to extend the impact of the European anti-doping charter for sport adopted at the last conference in Malta in 1984. Doping remains one of the intractable problems facing sport today. Although the ultimate sanction lies with the national and international sports federations, Governments can and should help through concerted international action. To this end the conference welcomed the positive contribution made by the Canadian Minister of Sport, and his offer to act as an intermediary to spread the Council of Europe's-and Canada's-work to other nations, including the United States of America and the Eastern block.

Another important agenda item was apartheid in sports. On the point of principle there was nothing between us: we all abhor apartheid and wish to see it ended in South Africa.

There were, however, differences — inspired by differences of constitution — in the way Governments viewed their locus in trying to prevent sporting contacts with South Africa. The resolution adopted is acceptable to the United Kingdom, and is compatible with Commonwealth and Her Majesty's Government's policy on sporting contacts with South Africa as enshrined in the "Gleneagles Agreement."

There was a useful discussion about the operation of the European convention on spectator violence and misbehaviour at sports events. Continuing political impetus was given to the work on violence associated with sport in general, and in particular to a study of the reasons behind violence with an aim to prevention.

The conference also adopted resolutions on ways to increase the impact of "Sport for All" policies with reference to participation by specific target groups. In particular, it endorsed the "European Charter for Sport for All: Disabled Persons"; and passed a resolution on "Sport for Prisoners and Young Delinquents". The conference agreed more generally the need to assess ways in which healthy participation for all might be promoted in a co-ordinated European programme through the study of injuries and their prevention.

Conference also supported resolutions on: international sports competitions, recognising that Governments share some concern for the wider implications of staging of major sports events; new partnerships in sport, conscious of the respective roles of Government, sport, commerce and media to the development of sport , sport and the environment, recognising the importance of reconciling sporting and environmental interests when and where these are in conflict; the 1988 Olympic Games, reaffirming support for the Olympic movement both now and in the future; and the future activities of the Council of Europe in the field of sport.

I shall place copies of these resolutions in the Library once the final texts have been issued by the conference secretariat.

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