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Yesterday, the House of Sport organised a state-of-the-art symposium entitled – Physical Activity: Tomorrow’s Cure. With Europe being plagued by shockingly high levels of inactivity across all ages and social groups, it is a top priority to raise awareness that physical activity is an important contributor to a wide range of domains, including human health and well-being.
Physical activity has also been found to make a significant economic impact and plays a crucial role with regard to our collective economic health. It is the latter that FESI seeks to highlight, as its core activity is to improve economic and policy knowledge in the field of sport-related industries and particularly in the sporting goods sector. As the sole representative of the European sporting goods industry, FESI has successfully convinced the Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs to launch a specific study on the economic dimension of sports.
The study seeks to research the economic importance of sport-related industries and has the objective of formulating policy-recommendations on how to boost the industrial competitiveness of these industries and specifically of the sporting goods sector. Within this context, FESI addressed the theme ‘healthy economies’ during the second round table at the House of Sport Conference.
Emphasising the multidimensional benefits of sports, FESI and the House of Sport are strong advocates for physical activity and its integration in EU policies. The alliance is therefore applauding the fact that researchers and policy makers are finally acknowledging this cause and evidently, the 20 partners are supporting European Week of Sport (EWOS) with great dedication. By combining their efforts, the House of Sport alliance seized the EWOS momentum to showcase positive health-enhancing physical activity examples and practices. The symposium also had other objectives, including:
– The delivery of a consolidated message on the need to raise the profile of sport, leisure & physical activity;
– Identifying & highlighting several good practices in Europe, whilst pointing out factors of success;
– Drawing concrete & operational recommendations directed at European institutions, the sport sector and the general public.
Within this light and reflecting the vision of the House of Sport, in addition to the previously mentioned theme (‘healthy economies’ ) the symposium centred on: healthy lifestyle and healthy societies. The conference was kick-started with a welcome speech by Alain Courtois – first Alderman of the City of Brussels. This was followed by two opening speeches featuring Yves Le Costecque, Head of the European Commission Sport’s Unit and Ms. Gitte Lambrechts-Courtois, Physiotherapist and mother of Belgium’s football goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Also, the round tables were moderated by key-stakeholders in the European Sports network. To put theory into practice and to set a clear example, all attendees were invited to participate in a 2km walk.
FESI Secretary General Alberto Bichi commented that: “As a founding member of the House of Sport alliance and as an activist, FESI will continue to raise awareness of the long-term benefits of physical activity and to emphasize the detrimental effects of the lack thereof. Representing the sporting goods industry, it is our duty to make sports accessible to the European public – irrespective of age, origin and socioeconomic status. For that purpose, we remain closely involved in cross-sectoral incentives that push sport on the political agenda.”