The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) welcomes the publication of the EU Work Plan for Sport (2021-2024), which aims to guide EU cooperation on sport policy for the next 3 years. FESI welcomes, in particular, the attention given to strengthening the recovery and the crisis resilience of the sport sector during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity.
“We are pleased to see that most of the priorities FESI is advocating for have been reflected in this new work plan, especially the recovery of the sport sector after COVID-19”, declared Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General. “It is crucial to recognise the triple benefit of physical activity clearly demonstrated by the current pandemic: before – as a tool for prevention, during – for physical and mental well-being, and after – for recovery.”, he added.
FESI also supports the Action Plan’s strong emphasis on the promotion of sport and physical activity, as well as their mainstreaming in all EU policies. Physical inactivity continues to rise in Europe: urgent action is needed to encourage more people to have an active lifestyle at home, at work and in their free time. Yet the COVID-19 crisis can act as a dramatic yet powerful accelerator to raise awareness among citizens and decision-makers. One of the key factors FESI has been advocating for to facilitate the promotion of physical activity is the development of sports and active lifestyle infrastructures, available and adapted to all citizens. Sports fields and outdoor facilities, certainly, but also urban infrastructures to make physical activity more accessible and safer, such as public lighting in parks and streets.,
The recognition of the contribution of sport to Europe’s environmentally sustainable growth and digitalisation is also a much-welcomed key element of the new Work Plan. The sporting goods industry is strongly committed to the transition to a greener and more circular economy and has been working for years to produce innovative and environmentally friendly products. Strengthening this transition through cross-sectoral cooperation is essential to make green sport a complete reality in 2024. Innovation and digitization in all areas of the sport sector should be useful accelerators to this sustainable transition.
FESI and its members are now looking forward to working with the EU institutions and Member States to implement this ambitious action plan and ensure that sport is part of an integrated approach to an active and environment-friendly lifestyle, social cohesion and active citizenship.