Blatter pleased with constructive dialogue with EC
© AFP

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), took part in the meeting held on Monday 26 January 2009 in Lausanne between representatives of the Olympic Movement under the aegis of IOC President Jacques Rogge, and Jan Figel, the European commissioner responsible for education, training, culture and youth, accompanied by his delegation.

On the agenda were the specific action points set out in the recent declaration which the European Council presented in mid-December 2008 on the subject of sport. Via this declaration, heads of state are calling for the European Commission to strengthen its dialogue with the IOC, and placing emphasis on the particular values of sport that go beyond its mere economic dimension. The "6+5" rule was mentioned in this context.

After the discussions were concluded, the FIFA President declared himself to be satisfied with the outcome. "I am delighted that the representatives of the European Commission and Commissioner Jan Figel were open to dialogue," he stated, "and I once again applaud the unity shown by the Olympic Movement and by sport in general, which was illustrated by the strength of the delegation here today."

The IOC President shared this sentiment, adding that "sporting organisations need the support of the European Union to face up to challenges such as drugs, betting scandals, racism and violence, and to preserve the individuality of sporting bodies and regulations. It is vital that we work together more closely to make the most of what sport has to offer, and today's meeting was an important step in that direction."

Mr Figel reaffirmed his respect for the autonomy and self-regulation of sporting bodies, and also recognised that what makes sport such a special case should be taken into consideration during the forthcoming dialogue between the EU and representatives of the world of sport. "There are a number of essential issues at stake," Mr Figel said. "The European Commission welcomes this new approach; namely having a regular, structured dialogue with the IOC. Today's meeting is the concrete result of this new approach."

In October and November of last year, President Blatter had already made the case for the "6+5" ruling to the European Parliament in Brussels and in front of the Ministers for Sports during their meeting in Biarritz, where he received the support of the President of the IOC.