The European Sports Charter (ESC) is the Council of Europe standard which lays down the basic principles for national sports policies, allowing governments to provide their citizens with opportunities to practice sport under well-defined conditions. It inspires policy makers and provides guidance to member states on how to perfect their existing sport legislations or other policies and to develop a comprehensive framework for sport.

The Charter has been, and still is, a reference point for the development of sport in Europe since its adoption in 1992, and countries and sports have benefited from the principles and values it portrays. But its most recent update was carried out almost 20 years ago, in 2001.

Since then, sport has had to face significant challenges in a world that is ever-changing in terms of technology, politics, public health, commercialisation and global demographics; these changes have had an impact, in one way or another, on human rights, democracy and the rule of law – and inevitably on sport. The European Sports Charter needs to stand up and take these challenges head on. In its current form, it cannot do this.

The process to start revising the Charter began in Tbilisi (Georgia) at the 15th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for sport, which through its adopted resolutions, invited EPAS to consider reviewing the ESC. Following this invitation, EPAS began the process which is outlined below.

timeline of the revision process timeline of the revision process

(done archived) 16 May 2019

Impact Assessment survey launched by Sport Cares consultancy

(done archived) 11 September 2019

EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee attend first workshop for preliminary remarks on feasibility study, draft process and scope

(done archived) October 2019

EPAS Secretariat writes first draft of revised Charter (Draft 0) and communication plan

(done archived) November 2019

EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee are consulted in writing on Draft 0

(done archived) December 2019

EPAS Secretariat collects comments and produces Draft 1

(done archived) 28 February 2020

EPAS Bureau considers Draft 1 and identifies critical issues to be discussed at 2nd Workshop

(done archived) 24 April 2020

EPAS Bureau adjusts process and activities (replacing 2nd Workshop with online survey) due to COVID 19

(done archived) May 2020

EPAS Secretariat consults Governing Board and Consultative Committee on content of Draft 1 via online survey

(done archived) July 2020

EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee attend online Webinar to discuss results of survey

(done archived) August 2020

EPAS Secretariat produces Draft 2

(done archived) 8-9 September 2020

Joint annual meeting of the EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee discusses Draft 2 and approves Ministerial background documents

(done) 5 November 2020

Introductory session of the 16th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for sport debates issues regarding the revision of the Charter (Draft 2)

(done) 15 January 2021

Heads of Delegation make statements regarding the Charter (Draft 2) at online Ministerial Round Table (session of the 16th Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport)

(done) 11 February 2021

Ministers adopt Resolution no. 1: "A European approach to Sport policies: the revision of the European Sport Charter"

(done) 10 March 2021

EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee attend 3rd workshop / online webinar to discuss outstanding issues

(done) 30 April 2021

EPAS Secretariat produces Draft 3

(done) May 2021

EPAS Secretariat co-ordinates any extra consultations, launches consultation of non EPAS member states on Draft 3

(done) 25 May 2021

Drafting Group (EPAS Governing Board) discusses amendments and approves Draft 3

(done) 15-16 June 2021

EPAS Governing Board gives final approval to Draft 4 

(done)July/August 2021

Council of Europe Legal Department and Proofreading Services give comments on Draft 4

(working) September/October 2021

Draft revised text of the European Sport Charter is processed to the Committee of Ministers for adoption

discussion points discussion points

What is a European Sport Model?

Throughout the Charter revision process, the notion of a European Sport Model has been promoted by sport movement representatives. The draft revised Charter does not make reference to it as there is no intergovernmental consensus regarding its definition or even its existence. This question will continue to be pursued, in particular by considering including some of its characteristics on values and how sport is organised in Europe, which do not yet feature in the Charter. Here are some “food for thought” documents and articles on the subject:

 My favourite paper in sport - the European Sport Charter (Mogens Kirkeby, ISCA)

Where does the “European model of sport” stand, 25 years on from the Bosman ruling? (Colin Miège, Sport & Citizenship)

 Further Developing the European Sport Model (by EOC, UEFA, GAISF, ENGSO, ISF, EUSA, FIAS)

 EU Athletes Response to the Lobby for a ‘European sport model’

 General questions put to MESGO students on the ESM