Back The 2023 Highlights of the Sport Division



Over the last 12 months, our team has relentlessly promoted human rights in and through sport. In 2023 sport integrity took centre stage – to ensure the integrity of people, of organisations, and of competitions in sport!


Some of the key moments of the year include: 


For the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS):
  • The European Sports Charter (ESC) continued to underpin its work , more particularily through the Support & Follow up visits which were conducted – according to the new methodology – in Lisbon, Portugal and Bratislava, Slovakia;
  • In the area of equality EPAS held a breakfast roundtable on combating gender-based violence in sport on International Women’s Day, 8 March and provided support to the All In Plus joint European Union (EU)-Council of Europe (CoE) project: promoting greater gender equality in sport, which was launched on 10 May ;
  • on 27 September a Declaration on Sport Integrity was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe based on the work initiated by EPAS;
  • the MARS Network (the Network of Magistrates/Prosecutors Responsible for Sports) became part of EPAS and held its second meeting on 18-19 September; amongst other key roles the MARS Network provides an international “forum” (reference body) devoted to investigation and criminal proceedings, which can respond to sectorial expectations and facilitate co-operation between prosecutors and relevant stakeholders, law enforcement and judiciary, integrity agencies, national platforms, anti-doping agencies, the sports movement and sports betting representatives;
  • EPAS continued to be involved in the IPACS Task Force 3 work, in particular for the follow on and promotion of the Sport Governance Benchmark and its guidelines in collaboration with the IOC and other stakeholders;
  • Human rights and sport remained a key Council of Europe and ESC priority and is part of all of EPAS’ work in sport; on 30 June a human rights forum was held focusing on data protection in sport;
  • the biennial EPAS Diversity Conference took place in Liechtenstein (28-29 November) organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport of the Principality of Liechtenstein under the framework of the Liechtenstein Presidency of the Committee of Ministers with the collaboration of the Special Representative to the Secretary General on migrants and refugees. The topic of the inclusion of child migrants and refugees in and through sport was examined and debated by key experts from the migrant and refugee and the sport communities;
  • the Pool of International Experts on Safe Sport gained six new members, bringing the total to 40 members. The Pool held their second annual meeting on 5 December, with a roundtable on safer recruitment of employees and volunteers in regular contact with children in sport;
  • a second round table took place in Bulgaria in the framework of the Start to Talk project. EPAS is currently supporting the Bulgarian Ministry of Youth and Sport in the development of a roadmap for the implementation of child safeguarding policies in sport, including concrete steps to set up Child Safeguarding Officer (CSO) roles. In this context, a first child consultation session was also held in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Child Council of the Bulgarian State Agency for Child Protection;
  • Finally, the EPAS Governing Board, Consultative Committee and Statutory Committee continued to play invaluable roles in the functioning of EPAS.


For the Conventions’ related activities :
  • Our Conventions welcomed new members and ratifications: the Saint-Denis Convention welcomed the ratification by Germany, Greece, Sweden and the United Kingdom and signature by Denmark, the Macolin Convention welcomed its ratification by France, and the Anti-Doping Convention welcomed ratification of its Additional Protocol by Italy;
  • The Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention (T-DO) held its 56th and 57th plenary sessions in Strasbourg, and continued its monitoring work with four new evaluation visits to Albania, Belgium, France and Hungary;
  • Cooperation between the Council of Europe and WADA was closely articulated through the CAHAMA 60th, 61st and 62nd meetings;
  • Work on Anti-Doping education took a leap forward with two workshops on how to reach the youngest generations of athletes and how to harness the power of education as a tool for clean sport;
  • A conference on the “Right to a Fair Procedure on Anti-Doping Proceedings” was co-organised with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Europe on 3 October in Riga (Latvia). With the presence of the Deputy Secretary General, it gathered more than 80 sport experts to discuss how to apply the Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)14 to make anti-doping proceedings fair;
  • The All In Plus joint project started its journey to promote greater gender equality in sport through data collection, best practices and media capacity-building sessions. Picking up the baton from the All In joint project, All In Plus will spearhead the work on gender equality until 2025;
  • The Combating Hate Speech in Sport joint project concluded the mapping of the state of play of hate speech in sport in Italy, France and Germany, held a workshop on “Building strategies to combat hate speech in sport” and welcomed new Project Ambassadors Aauri Lorena Bokesa Abia, Evanthía "Evína" Máltsi and Panos Triantafyllous onboard. The #SportIsRespect joint campaign will be launched in early 2024;
  • The Saint-Denis Committee launched the UEFA 2024 Euro Ad hoc Working Group, in the occasion of the its 4th meeting. The Committee put their findings to work during its first monitoring visit, conducted in Germany, future host of the tournament;
  • Our work on sport integrity in the context of the manipulation of sport competitions took center stage with the meetings of the Follow-up Committee and its Advisory group as well as with the Addressing Competitions’ Manipulation Together (ACT) project which enabled to carry out a technical assistance mission to Morocco, to hold an onboarding webinar and organise a conference on “Preserving the integrity of sport by combatting illegal betting”;
  • This theme was further reinforced with the Sport Integrity Week held in Athens (Greece), a first-ever joint venture co-organised with the International Olympic Committee, INTERPOL, UEFA, the Greek National Platform for Sport Integrity (EPATHLA), the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF) and hosted by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).

We thank all our delegations, experts, partners, and stakeholders that have made this year such a productive and successful year and look forward to continue advancing together human rights in and through sport in the coming year.

We invite you to discover our Calendar of activities 2024, and to mark the relevant dates in your agendas, looking forward to new great initiatives and work in 2024!

Sport Division Strasbourg, France 21 DECEMBER 2023
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