Minister Kustec urges joint EU crisis response in sports

Ljubljana – Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec joined her EU counterparts in charge of sports as they supported the survival of the European model of sports, both popular and top competitive sports, in a virtual meeting on Tuesday. Kustec also called for a common approach to the organisation of sports events during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most ministers voiced further support for the holding of national and international sporting events, including in the travel of participants, the crossing of borders and adopting the needed health protocols allowing that.

As the Portugal as the EU’s next presiding country listed its priorities, Kustec said that the main sports topic of Slovenia’s presidency, following that of Portugal, would be preserving the European sports model.

“On the one hand, support for the broadest possible involvement of the population, which includes the positive effects on society, and on the other top sports and the role of countries,” the minister told the STA after the meeting.

“During this health crisis, it has transpired that there are problems at the EU level and that it’s necessary to adopt a common approach in certain areas for a better crisis response,” the minister added.

“Joint work at the EU level is important not only in support of top sports regarding training and competitions, but also in promotion and appeal for our citizens to keep active. I can say we are in the group of the most active in sport in the EU and we can play a positive role in the European space,” said Kustec.

She noted the exceptional achievements of top Slovenian athletes, and the involvement of sports organisations in the adoption of coronavirus measures in the country that allowed sports to continue.

“Sports, both recreational and competitive, has always been high on the list of Slovenian values (…) The lack of common EU procedures and measures in the organisation of events has been obvious and some countries and teams have been in a disadvantaged position,” she said.

“It’s essential to unify measures. This is why we support Italy’s initiative for a joint EU platform for sports so we are able to respond fast while respecting fair play and preserving the European model of sports,” Kustec said in the public part of the session, announcing three major winter sports events in Slovenia until March 2021, including the World Ski Flying Championship.