Brussels, 24th of November 2023

The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) welcomes the landmark steps taken today by the Council in recognising the importance of gender equality in sport[1], a significant stride towards implementing the recommendations set forth in FESI’s StrongHer manifesto. FESI commends the Council for its commitment to fostering safe, inclusive and equal playing field for athletes of all genders and calls on Member States to swiftly implement the Council’s demands.

Today marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards gender equality in sports. The Council’s conclusions not only echo the recommendations of our StrongHer manifesto but also inspire renewed dedication to breaking down barriers and building a more inclusive future for everyone no matter their gender“, commented Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General. “Sport thrives when it embraces everyone, and we all reap the rewards of inclusive sporting environments. The Council’s conclusions are a step in the right direction, but more support and investment are needed at local level to develop inclusive sports infrastructures for all”, he added.

According to the latest EU Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity, 33% of young women between 15 and 24 never exercise or play sport[2]. Hence, they miss out on all the benefits that an active lifestyle can have on their personal development and wellbeing. In FESI’s StrongHer Manifesto[3] launched during the 2021 European Week of Sport Sport in Bled, the sporting goods industry – represented through FESI -highlighted some key barriers for girls’ participation in sport, connected to personal image, practical access to facilities and persistent societal misperceptions.

Today’s landmark conclusions reaffirm the shared commitment of all Member States to dismantling barriers and creating a sports landscape that truly embraces diversity and equal opportunities. FESI is particularly pleased with the Council’s call for Member States to increase the proportion of women in sports leadership positions and to consider the gender perspective in sports infrastructure and facilities. However, for sports infrastructures to be effectively accessible to all, FESI recommends the creation of EU standards to control the “safe” character of existing and new infrastructures, to be combined with financial investment to support local authorities in this process. Specific training for coaches to train girls is also essential to keep girls committed and motivated to take part in sport.

To conclude, FESI would like to express its gratitude and most sincere congratulations to the Spanish Presidency for leading this work over the past six months, and for its unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity and equality. In particular, we appreciate the attention given to our StrongHer recommendations, acknowledging the importance of our collective efforts. FESI remains committed to championing the ideals outlined in the StrongHer manifesto and actively engaging with the implementation of the Council conclusions. As an organisation, we stand ready to collaborate with stakeholders, governments, and sports bodies to transform these commitments into tangible actions.


[2] Special Eurobarometer 472, “Sport and Physical Activity”, 2018:



About FESI: The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) is the pre-competitive platform representing the interests of the sporting goods industry in Europe, advancing its members’ priorities and promoting initiatives that benefit the sector, EU citizens and the society as a whole. FESI is the sole stakeholder that provides sporting goods companies with the possibility to leverage their expertise into one steady and coherent voice.

 Contact: Ariane Gatti, FESI Communication Manager / [email protected] / +32 (0)2 762 86 4