European Commission. Study on the training of young sportsmen and sportswomen in Europe. Recommendations

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1 European Commission Study on the training of young sportsmen and sportswomen in Europe Recommendations June 2008

2 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations 2

3 Introduction and methodology As an introduction to the presentation of our recommendations, we hereinafter recall in Chart 1 the methodology we used within the framework of the study. Chart 1. Methodology Analysis of existing studies and works of European institutions Risk assessment Choice of the sports to study Detailed typological description of the different mechanisms and training systems for of high level young athletes Questionnaires Study of the national and European legal and political frameworks preserving and promoting the training of young athletes Extension Part I Home-grown players rule Quality criteria and related best practices Extension Part II Home-grown players rule Objectives Recommendations Our methodology turns on the risk assessment stage (risks for the athlete / risks for the training centres), which allowed us to identify, on the basis of the conclusions of the typological description stage (cf. Detailed typological description of different mechanisms and systems for the training of young athletes document), of the legal and political frameworks stage (cf. Study of the national and European legal and political frameworks preserving and promoting the training of young athletes document) and of the best practices stage (cf. Identification, evaluation and comparison of the quality criteria document), the objectives to be achieved in order to strengthen the training of young athletes. More details about the analysis of the existing documentation, the risk assessment stage, the choice of sports and the questionnaires are presented in appendix to the methodology. 3

4 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Objectives 2. Recommendations 4

5 Objectives related to training centres We identified different types of risks related to training centres. For each kind of risk, on the basis of the information and documents transmitted by our legal and sports correspondents from the 27 EU Member States, we set out the main objectives to be achieved in order to limit those risks. Those objectives may be classified around five main aspects as presented in Chart 2. Chart 2. Types of objectives related to training centres 2. Facilities 3. Staff 1. Social environment A) Training centres 4. Financing 5. Sports organisation We also ranked together with the European Commission those objectives in terms of priority (1st level of priority corresponding to the most important objectives). Chart 3 presents this classification. Chart 3. Level of priority of objectives related to training centres Level of priority : 1 Promote the recognition of equivalence of qualifications for the staff of training centres inside the EU (staff) Optimize the performance of training centres (sports organisation) Level of priority : 2 Promote best practices and exchanges of know-how between sports associations and clubs (sports organisation) Raise staff numbers and strenghten professionalisation of the staff in charge of the training of young athletes (staff) Contribute to increase the participation of women in the management and staff of high level sports (staff) Ease the development of private financing (athletes, trainers, equipment, infrastructures) (financing) Level of priority : 3 Guarantee the opportunity for every young athlete to train in a safe environment (facilities) Promote the creation and the development in each country of the appropriate number of quality facilities for the training of young athletes (facilities) Develop the number of training centres available for young high level handicaped athletes (facilities) Secure adequate financing (athletes, trainers, equipment, infrastructures) (financing) Contribute to fight against the growing sedentarity in the society (social environment) Contribute to avoid a massive relocation of the training of high-level young athletes outside the borders of the EU (social environment) 5

6 Objectives related to the athlete Like for training centres, we identified different types of risks related to the athlete and set out the main objectives to be attained in order to limit those risks. Those objectives can be classified around eight main aspects as presented in Chart 4. Chart 4. Types of objectives related to the athlete 1. Talent identification 2. Sports training 8. Ethics 7. Everyday life B) The athlete 3.Development of non sporting skills 4. Career management 6. Psychology 5. Health We also ranked together with the European Commission those objectives in terms of priority (1st level of priority corresponding to the most important objectives). These objectives may be achieved through legal or political instruments or both types of instruments. Chart 5 presents this classification. Chart 5. Classification of objectives related to the athlete Level of priority : 1 Avoid overtraining or inappropriate sports training of young athletes (sports training) Ensure the protection of minors (sports training) Ensure an appropriate school education besides sports training (development of non sporting skills) Promote personal development programme besides sports for young athletes (development of non sporting skill Promote career management amoung young athletes (career management) Prevent health problems and serious injuries of the young athletes (health) Promote healthy nutrition (health) Promote the lifestyle management of young athletes (everyday life) Level of priority : 2 Promote the communication of fundamental and ethical sporting values to young athletes (ethics) Contribute to limit social risks (social statute of elite athletes, pensions ) for young athletes (career managemen Promote post-career preparation among young athletes (career management) Prevent the use of doping products (health) Contribute to help young athletes in dealing with the pressure of training and competition (psychology) Level of priority : 3 Promote guidance of young athletes to allow them to develop their full potential (talent identification) Promote sports through talent identification system (for a given country) (talent identification) Contribute to limit the negative impact of leaving home at young age (psychology) 6

7 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations 7

8 Recommendations Once the above objectives were set forth, on the basis of the information and documents transmitted by our legal and sports correspondents from the 27 EU Member States, we worked on the preparation of proposals and suggestions that would allow to attain these objectives. Due to the principle of subsidiary intervention of the European institutions in the area of sports, some of the objectives presented in the previous documents did not lead to the drafting of recommendations to the attention of the European Commission. However, in our opinion, it would be necessary that everybody who is involved in the training of young athletes keep in mind all those objectives in order to reduce the risks we identified regarding young athletes who get into the long and difficult high level sport pathway. We displayed our conclusions under the form of sets of recommendations, presented herein below. Please note that a given recommendation may correspond to one or several objectives. A) B) C) Promotion of a workforce with appropriate formal qualifications Protection of the health and the environment of high level young athletes Promotion of the dialogue and cooperation between sports and education D) Promotion of new financing mechanism for the training of high level young athletes E) Promotion of the societal role of sports F) Protection of young professional athletes G) Creation of a European label for training centres 8

9 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations A/ Promotion of a workforce with appropriate formal qualifications Recommendation (1) : Promote the recognition of equivalences of qualifications at the European level for all types of actors involved in the training of high level young athletes Recommendation (2) : Ensure that coaches benefit from a lifelong vocational training Recommendation (3) : Promote women's role in sports management (training, etc ) 9

10 A) Promotion of a professional workforce with appropriate formal qualifications Recommendation (1) : Promote the recognition of equivalences of qualifications at the European level for all types of actors involved in the training of high level young athletes Background of this recommendation The qualifications of the actors are key for the development of young athletes both as elite athletes and individual persons. Today, training centres involve many different actors: trainers but also medical practitioners, physiotherapists, psychologists, mental coaches, sports scientists, podiatrists, nutritionists / dieticians, strength and conditioning coaches, heads of education, etc. All those actors are in contact with young athletes and their role is for example key for combining sport and educational training or for a good medical follow-up. It is therefore dangerous if such actors do not have the required qualifications. That is why it appears that it is highly important to encourage the recognition of equivalences of qualifications for all types of actors involved in the training of high level young athletes, and not only for coaches, as it already exists for example for physiotherapists (cf. Directive 2005/36/CE of September 2005, on the recognition of professional qualifications ). Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to promote the recognition of equivalences of professional qualifications on a voluntary basis, through new schemes like the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF is acting as a translation device to make qualifications existing in Europe more readable. Those recognitions of qualifications should affect all types of actors involved in the training of high level young athletes and should take into account the physical and psychological specificities related to the training of those athletes. 10

11 Recommendation (2) : Ensure that coaches benefit from a lifelong vocational training Background of this recommendation The training of young athletes is evolving very quickly as new training methods regularly appear. The environment of sports is also moving very fast, which impacts the means and methods dedicated to elite sports training. It is therefore crucial that coaches keep in touch with new findings to improve their training methods to the attention of young athletes while preserving their health. It is also important that vocational training includes specific training regarding the specificities of the practice of elite sports at a young age and of the transmission of key ethical values (especially the fight against doping). Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to promote the involvement of sports organisations in the definition of regulations relating to the continuing education of coaches. It is essential that sports organisations get involved as the specificity of each sport has to be taken into account. Coaches and other persons training young athletes should be obliged to attend every year a minimum hours of life long vocational training. The compliance with such obligation should be checked by each competent sports organisation. The development of institutions providing such vocational training should also be guaranteed. 11

12 Recommendation (3) : Promote women's role in sports management (training, etc ) Background of this recommendation The participation of girls in elite sport is not as strong as boys implication. The higher drop rate for girls explains part-way this situation. We believe that if the actors involved in training and especially trainers had a better knowledge of the specificities of the training of young sportswomen (both on the physical and mental points of view), the drop rate could be reduced. Besides the evolution of the education of coaches, we believe that an increase in the percentage of women involved in both high level sports management and coaching would be an efficient way to improve the current situation. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to encourage sports organisations to involve former high level sportswomen in the development of high level women sports (both in management and training) and to support existing programmes / networks such as the European Women and Sport association, which is dedicated to the promotion of the role and involvement of women in sport at all levels. 12

13 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations B/ Protection of the health and the environment of high level young athletes Recommendation (4) : Promote a regular medical follow-up of high level young athletes Recommendation (5) : Promote the limitation by sports organisations of the duration of training and of the number of competitions for high level young athletes, in order to safeguard their health and to preserve their chance of reconciling sport and educational training (dual career) Recommendation (6) : Promote existing best practices related to pensions and health insurance of high level young athletes 13

14 B) Protection of the health and the environment of high level young athletes Recommendation (4) : Promote a regular medical follow-up of high level young athletes Background of this recommendation Elite sports is very demanding and may even be dangerous for the health of young athletes if a proper medical follow-up is not guaranteed. Medical follow up should include both a regular follow-up in order to identify any sign of health weakness and full medical check-ups in order to study specific issues that a sports medical practitioner may not identify on the field. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to promote a regular medical follow-up of young high level athletes and, at least twice a year, a full medical check-up. Regular medical follow-up should involve at least sports medical practitioners and physiotherapists. The full medical check-up should involve a large panel of professionals. An efficient means for ensuring the medical survey of young high level athletes, whether amateur or professional, could consist in instituting a health record which would be delivered to young high level sportsmen / sportswomen as from the beginning of his/her high level sports training and which would remain their property. This record could then be communicated to the medical staff of the various clubs / teams they would join during their career, on a voluntary basis and in compliance with the professional secrecy obligations applying to medical data, so as to allow the medical staff in charge of such high level athletes to be aware of their previous medical history. The health record could be delivered within the license by each relevant sports organisation and the medical follow up could be supervised by the sports medical practitioners linked to each sports organisation. 14

15 Recommendation (5) : Promote the limitation by sports organisations of the duration of training and of the number of competitions for high level young athletes, in order to safeguard their health and to preserve their chance of reconciling sport and educational training (dual career) Background of this recommendation High level sports require a huge investment since the very young age. Competitions may be harmful for young athletes in terms of mental health and school attendance due to the underlying pressure and the long trips which are often mandatory. Immoderate training schedules may also put in danger the physical and mental health of young athletes. Depending on the sports, it could be interesting to limit the number of competitions and the duration of training for some ages categories. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is that every Member State should encourage each sports organisation to set out limitations regarding the duration of training and the number of competitions according to the considered sports and to the age of high level athletes so as to ensure that the health of young high level athletes is not threaten. This kind of limitation should be very specific and determined for each sport. It should also take into account specific cases (as for instance, athletes with an advanced biological age). 15

16 Recommendation (6) : Promote existing best practices related to pensions and health insurance of high level young athletes Background of this recommendation The insurance of injuries that may be suffered by young athletes during the training period does not appear as sufficient as many EU Member States leave to the private sector the coverage of this risk, which constitutes a high cost for a young athlete. We recommend that all countries set up a minimum insurance scheme subscribed by sports organisations so as to allow any injured athlete to get an indemnification. Detailed recommendation The number of injuries in high level sports is quite substantial. Therefore, we recommend that some measures be taken in every EU Member State to insure an efficient protection of high level young athletes while they are training. Best practices exist in some countries such as France and Luxembourg. They could constitute the basis of a system to be implemented in all EU Member States, under which each athlete would benefit form an insurance coverage in case of injury, through the competent sports organisation or through his club, upon simple presentation of his sport permit. Another way of efficiently protecting high level young athletes may consist in recognizing that high level young athletes mentioned on lists established by the relevant sports organisations perform a dangerous activity due to the physical involvement required and, which would place them under specific regulations similar to those applicable, for example, in France, to firemen, which imply a better insurance coverage. This also means that it would be convenient to clarify the statute of the high level young athlete, especially regarding health protection and pension schemes. For professional athletes, the setting up of a European collective bargaining agreement, which would apply to all sports, could be discussed between European organisations representing clubs and high level athletes with the co-operation of the sports movement. This would allow to reduce the differences between the contracts executed by high level young athletes and to offer them a more efficient protection regarding social aspects. For amateur athletes, we recommend that the sports movement coordinate with the Member States and sports organisations the creation of a specific status for high level athletes (multisport status) granting them a minimal social and health protection. 16

17 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations C/ Promotion of the dialogue and cooperation between sports and education Recommendation (7) : Promote the dialogue between sports and education at both national and local levels in order to develop flexible systems for combining high level sports and academic education Recommendation (8) : Promote the dialogue between sports and education at both national and local levels in order to develop possibilities for high level athletes to go back to their studies further to their sport career Recommendation (9) : Promote the best European athletes who were successful in high level studies 17

18 C) Promotion of the dialogue and cooperation between sports and education Recommendation (7) : Promote the dialogue between sports and education at both national and local levels in order to develop flexible systems for combining high level sports and academic education Background of this recommendation The combination of high level training and school needs a specific support during secondary school as young athletes need to spend a lot of time in training and to rest at the same time. Young athletes need a specific support from training centres. Ministries of Education should grant to training centres more latitude to organise the studies of young athletes. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to encourage the Member States to offer the possibility to high level young athletes to organise in a different way their academic path. In order to equalize the opportunities offered to high level young athletes regarding their educational / professional training, a programme specifically adapted to their needs and constraints could be set up within the framework of the Lifelong Learning Programme, program dedicated to the promotion of the apprenticeship all life long. Such a programme would allow high level young athletes to perform their studies within a longer time period. This also means that the statute of high level athletes should be studied in order to make sure all potential high level young athletes get the appropriate environment to combine sports and studies. Another recommendation is to encourage the Member States to make the appropriate investments for the development of e-learning programmes as high level young athletes travel very often and have very heavy schedules when they are back. 18

19 Recommendation (8) : Promote the dialogue between sports and education at both national and local levels in order to develop possibilities for high level athletes to go back to their studies further to their sport career Background of this recommendation Many efforts are being made in several EU Member States so as to allow high level young athletes to combine studies and high level sports. However, the practice often shows that this is not sufficient and that many young high level athletes cannot go on studying efficiently if they want to reach a high level on the sports side as they need to invest much time in training. This is especially sensitive for university studies. Some EU Member States offer only few opportunities to young athletes who may be left with almost no guidance once the compulsory school period is over. The result of the current situation is that a number of young athletes stop their studies at the age of and are thereafter unable to go back to them if they do not succeed in reaching the elite level. Detailed recommendation Our main recommendation is to ensure that all EU Member States encourage sports organisations to offer a good combination between high level sports and school if possible until the end of secondary school. Afterwards, it appears very difficult to combine high level sports and higher education (just as it is very difficult to combine two types of high level studies). Sports organisations should be able to offer to young athletes if they so wish the possibility to combine high level sports and higher education. But above all, EU Member States and sports organisations should try to find a way so that high level young athletes may capitalise on the know-how acquired during their training, so that they do not start higher education from zero when they stop high level training. Also, EU Member States and sports organisation should consider the development of counselling services for young athletes by integrating former athletes, independent from sports associations and trainers, who would be able to efficiently advise young athletes). 19

20 Recommendation (9) : Promote the best European athletes who were successful in high level studies Background of this recommendation It is important that our society better understands the types of skills that high level athletes may transfer in their professional career outside sports in order to give better opportunities to young athletes who cannot reach the elite level. It is also key that young athletes keep in mind that it is possible to combine sports and education. Detailed recommendation So as to better communicate on this subject matter, our recommendation is to create an ambassador status for top European athletes who were able to combine sports training and high level studies or for European athletes who were successful after their retirement,. 20

21 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations D/ Promotion of new financing mechanisms for the training of high level young athletes Recommendation (10) : Promote private funding of training centres and young athletes (charities, trusts, foundations ) Recommendation (11) : Encourage sports organisations and sports clubs involved in the training of young athletes to share knowledge and means Recommendation (12) : Contemplate the hypothesis of evolution of the current compensation fees system in football and develop similar mechanisms in other collective sports 21

22 D) Promotion of new financing mechanisms for the training of high level young athletes Recommendation (10) : Promote private funding of training centres and young athletes (charities, trusts, foundations ) Background of this recommendation The quality of the training, the possibilities to combine sports and education or the level of the medical surveillance mainly depend on the staff and on the facilities. In order to be successful, EU Member States and sports organisations need to adopt the right strategy and organisation but also need funding. This is even more true as current sports facilities often need substantial investments to take into account the evolution of high level sports and/or to guarantee the safety of athletes and as staff in training centres shall be increased in order to face international competition. However, some EU Member States may not be able to allocate huge budgets for the training of sportsmen. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to encourage EU Member States to promote private funding of the training, so as to maintain/develop the quality of training programmes. One solution could reside in the development of foundations, trusts and philanthropy / charity funds related to the training of young athletes as already done in the United Kingdom for example. 22

23 Recommendation (11) : Encourage sports organisations and sports clubs involved in the training of young athletes to share knowledge and means Background of this recommendation Sports organisations and sports clubs often hesitate to share their knowledge. However, they would win additional expertise and could save money if they were able to better co-operate regarding the training of young athletes. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to encourage sports organisations to promote new attitudes at different levels : Sports organisations could work more closely together : At the national level (one sport can always learn from another sport) ; At the European level (exchanges will make European sports stronger). Sports clubs could also collaborate better : Sports clubs from different sports could work more closely together and build / run common training centres in order to share their staff and their facilities ; Sports clubs from a same sport could also join their forces for the training of young athletes ; in some sports, they could set up common training centres in order to share their staff and facilities ; it is especially true for collective sports, which could be able to increase the level of their training groups and the percentage of players reaching the elite level, which would result in an increase in the return on investment for each of them. 23

24 Recommendation (12) : Contemplate the hypothesis of evolution of the current compensation fees system in football and develop similar mechanisms in other collective sports Background of this recommendation The training of young football players needs heavy investments in order to offer them the best conditions in terms of staff, facilities, education, etc... Football clubs make this investment with the objective that players will thereafter represent their first team. The quality of the training of young players has in the past allowed small clubs to compete with the best clubs. Today, a club may not have anymore the certainty that a young player will, at the end of his training period, play for its first team. This situation threatens clubs on several aspects : The balance of European and national competitions could be threatened as the rich clubs may become more and more dominating ; Some European clubs may decide to stop investing in training and choose to recruit only adult players coming from non-european countries, which might have a negative impact on the level of the European football and on the societal role of football in Europe. The FIFA regulations dated 5 July 2001, approved by the European Union, set out a protection of training clubs in ensuring that they would be entitled to receive a financial compensation upon the first transfer of the young player they would have trained. However, clubs consider that this measure is not sufficient to refrain rich clubs from recruiting their best elements, thus creating an imbalance in the national and European competitions. In order to avoid such a phenomenon, UEFA created (amongst other mechanisms) the home-grown players rule which requires from teams participating to its competitions to include in their strength a certain number of locally trained players. This rule may contribute to protect the training of young players but cannot solve by itself all problems related to training. A solution could certainly found in in the combination of this rule with other rules or ideas which would comply with the basic principles of the European Treaty and particularly with the freedom of movement of workers (cf. part II of the complementary study). 24

25 Detailed recommendation The ideal solution for protecting the work performed by training clubs would be to guarantee them somehow that players they have trained will start their professional career in the club. If this is not possible, our recommendation is to study additional measures related to compensation fees in order to guarantee a better return on investment to clubs which invest a lot of time and money in the training of young athletes. Most of the actors involved estimate that the current applicable compensation fees are not high enough for very talented players and may be too high for some average players. A solution could consist in adding another amount to the current compensation fees, which would be computed on the basis of the level of the player. This complementary amount could for example be based either on the contract entered into the player with his destination club or on sports criteria (number of games played in first division, in European championships and with the national team, etc.). This complementary compensation fee could also depend on the future performance of the player (mechanism used between English clubs), which presents the double interest of not being a handicap for the player upon his transfer (the destination club does not incur any risk as it only pays a complementary fee if the player performs well) and to reward the training club. Generally speaking, we believe that it would be interesting to take into account the whole career of the player and not only the first transfer. In this sense, an option could be to increase the existing percentage to be paid upon transfers to the training clubs where the player was trained between 12 and 21 years old (FIFA solidarity mechanisms). Some other formula could be studied. On the contrary, for young players who do not get any contract proposal from their training club, a mechanism could limit the compensation fees to be paid to the training club if another club proposes a contract to the player as the training club would in such a case not really suffer a prejudice Football clubs should also be attentive to offer adequate contracts to young talented players, which has not always been the case in the past. Other sports did not always develop compensation fees to protect the training of young athletes. Our study shows that the compensation of young athletes, when it exists, may vary according to the considered country. On the basis of a social dialogue at the European level between the various relevant European actors, a European collective bargaining agreement could set out a minimum and a maximum compensation according to the age of the high level young athletes and the sports practised. The high level athlete status could set forth the conditions of reimbursement of the costs incurred for their participation in competitions and the award of scholarships and premiums to amateur high level athletes. 25

26 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations E/ Promotion of the societal role of sports Recommendation (13) : Develop high level sports training for disabled young athletes and common facilities and competitions with high level sports for valids 26

27 E) Promotion of the societal role of sports Recommendation (13) : Develop high level sports training for disabled young athletes and the setting up competitions in common with high level sports for valids Background of this recommendation There are no real high level sports training paths for disabled young athletes. Therefore, they are trained by a high level staff and appropriate facilities. Disabled persons also need more focus from the media to promote their sports and their practise. Detailed recommendation Our recommendation is to promote the setting up by the EU Member States and sports organisations of specific paths for disabled young athletes. For certain sports, these paths could use the same staff and facilities as those used by valid athletes. Sports organisations and sports clubs could also organise more events involving both valid and disabled athletes and mixed teams whenever it is possible. 27

28 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations F/ Protection of young professional athletes Recommendation (14) : Take into account specific issues related to the training of young high level athletes in a future European social dialogue Recommendation (15) : Pay a special attention to the conditions of residence in Europe of young foreign athletes (including visa, residence permit, etc.). 28

29 F) Protection of young professional athletes Recommendation (14) : Take into account specific issues related to the training of young high level athletes in a future European social dialogue Background of this recommendation The statute of young professional athletes in training centres does not always provide all the required guarantees. Some young athletes may therefore get into precarious situations. Detailed recommendation We believe that it is crucial to encourage the European Commission to promote through a European social dialogue the development of discussions between the various actors involved (national sports associations, professional leagues and clubs) on the aspects related to the training of young high level athletes and, particularly, to promote the consideration of quality criteria. 29

30 Recommendation (15) : Pay a special attention to the conditions of residence in Europe of young foreign athletes (including visa, residence permit, etc.). Background of this recommendation The main issue is the recruitment by European clubs of young athletes coming from non European countries : sometimes, after a training period which is not satisfactory to the club, they may be without resources and with no means for him to go back in their country of origin. Our study shows that regulations of the Member States relating to the protection of minors are heterogeneous among the Member States. Moreover, in professional sports such as football and basketball, many minors are recruited by foreign clubs in quite bad conditions which do not allow them to pursue school and/or vocational education. Regarding football, the FIFA regulations dated 5 July 2001 strongly limit transfers of players under 18. However, some clubs bypass this rule in enabling athletes to bring their family. Some sports organisations have included in their regulations obligations for clubs to make sure that young foreign athletes are properly welcome and are able to return to their country of origin after the test period or after the competition period. However, this seems to remain an exception. Detailed recommendation This issue involves various policies of the European Union such as the protection of minors at work and the immigration policy. We believe that it is crucial that the European Commission supports actions related to this issue within the framework of those policies in order to prevent bad practices. 30

31 Table of contents Introduction and methodology 1. Reminder of the objectives 2. Recommendations G/ Creation of a European label for training centres Recommendation (16) : Promote, on a voluntary basis, the creation of a European label for training centres 31

32 G) Creation of a European label for training centres Recommendation (16) : Promote, on a voluntary basis, the creation of a European label for training centres Background of this recommendation It seems necessary to somehow guarantee the quality of the training of high level young athletes throughout the European Union. Our study reveals that only a few EU Member States submit the financing of sports training centres to the compliance of quality criteria. The other EU Member States should as well be encouraged to set forth a control of the compliance with quality criteria. Other recommendations contained in this study could also be strengthened by a kind of control of the quality of the training. Detailed recommendation We estimaye that it may be highly interesting to create, on a voluntary basis, a European label for training centres. Creating a label for training centres would be an efficient tool in order to promote several practices regarding athletes services as well as medical surveillance or combination between sports practice and academic education. The label would aim at recognizing the efforts realised by some training centres to fulfil some minimum requirements : Good combination between sports training and academic education (in order to facilitate athletes learning processes). Qualification of staff. Regular medical surveillance of athletes (including physiotherapists) and full medical check-up. Career management assistance and preparation in training centres. Nutritionists services. Assistance from psychologists to young athletes in the training centres. Quality criteria for sports facilities. Internal code of behaviour. Such a label could, for example, contribute to the promotion of the availability of the required staff in European training centres, the creation of adequate facilities for education (distance between sports training and education, available facilities for tutoring ), the creation of training centres located locally for athletes aged under 15 years old (so that athletes can get back home at least every week-end). The setting up of such a label would of course may not be imagined without a strong dialogue between the Member States, the sports movement and the relevant sports organisations. 32

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