On 11 May 2007, the Council of Europe adopted Resolution CM/Res(2007)8, establishing the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), in order to give fresh momentum to pan-European sports co-operation and address the current challenges facing sport in Europe – building on more than thirty years of activity in the field.
EPAS provides a platform for intergovernmental sports co-operation between the public authorities of its member states. It also encourages dialogue between public authorities, sports federations and NGOs. This contributes to better governance, with the aim of making sport more ethical, more inclusive and healthier.
EPAS aims to promote the development of any sport whose benefits are wide-reaching. It develops policies and standards, monitors them and helps with capacity-building and the exchange of good practices. It uses Council of Europe sports standards such as the European Sports Charter, the Code of Sports Ethics, the European Convention on Spectator Violence, the Anti-Doping Convention, the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions and the Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events, as the basis for drawing up its own strategies.
One of its recent achievements was the preparation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions which was opened for signature on 18 September 2014. Since 2015, the EPAS programme of activities has included events to further promote this convention and help its secretariat prepare its implementation.
Different recommendations initially prepared by EPAS have been adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on issues of sports ethics, the autonomy of the sports movement, and the protection of young athletes from dangers associated with migration. Older recommendations such as the European Sports Charter are regularly monitored via consultative visits in member states. The Recommendation on Gender mainstreaming in sport is the most recent and was adopted on 21 January 2015. Work is currently underway to revise an old recommendation on “free fighting contests, such as cage fighting”.
Since 2009, EPAS has carried out awareness-raising and co-operation activities on the promotion of diversity in and through sport, focusing successively on different groups (ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, women, children, persons in detention, and in 2016, activities focused on newly arrived migrants and their integration via sport). In 2017, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, EPAS will evaluate the impact of its activities and will update its strategy on promoting diversity.
Since 2014, EPAS has strengthened its operational co-operation capacity by developing joint projects with the European Union and the sports movement, for example on the topics of gender equality, promoting the well-being of young athletes, and on good governance standards).
Finally, Council of Europe Conferences of Ministers responsible for Sport continue to be organised regularly thanks to EPAS (Athens 2008, Baku 2010, Belgrade 2012, Macolin/Magglingen 2014 and Budapest 2016).
Thirty-eight countries are currently members: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Twenty-five sports organisations (including ENGSO, UEFA and the EOC) are partners of EPAS making up its Consultative Committee.