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The final report of the oficial study

Sport contributes to the European economy nearly 3%

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The final report of the study was carried out by SportsEconAustria (SpEA), the Austrian Institute for Sports Economics, is now publicly available.According to the study, the share of sport-related value added (direct effects) of total EU Gross Value Added is 1.76% and amounts to € 173.86 bn. The direct effects of sport combined with its multiplier (indirect and induced) effects add up to 2.98% of EU Gross Value Added (€ 294.36 bn). Furthermore, the share of sport-related employment (direct effects) amounts to 2.12% of total EU employment, equivalent to 4,460,888 persons. If indirect effects are added, sport leads to employment of 7,378,671 persons (3.51% of EU employment).
 
The study on the contribution of sport to economic growth and employment in the EU was launched by the Commission in 2010 and has now been completed. The study aims to assess the sport sector´s macroeconomic importance in the EU-27, in particular its growth and employment potential, thereby making a contribution to assessing the sector´s role with regard to the Europe 2020 Strategy. One of the specific study objectives was to develop a methodological framework that takes into account the economic impact of sport at the national level (27 EU Member States) as well as at EU level based on the Vilnius Definition of Sport and the work already carried out on that basis.
 
In its 2007 White Paper on Sport the Commission noted the lack of comprehensive and comparable EU-wide information on the sector´s economic role in the context of evidence-based policies, and encouraged work on Sport Satellite Accounts (SSA). It also announced the launch of a study to assess sport´s contribution to the EU´s strategic goals in terms of growth and job creation.
 
The sustainable financing of sport at national level and its link to EU policy-making has been a recurrent topic on the EU agenda for sport. The Expert Group on Sustainable Financing of Sport (XG FIN) was mandated by the Council to recommend ways to strengthen financial solidarity mechanisms within sport by the end of 2012.
The Group, in its work schedule, agreed to give a broad interpretation to this mandate and to look into all aspects that affect such solidarity mechanisms. The EU has a Communication on Developing the European Dimension in Sport and accompanying documents, and a White Paper on Sport and accompanying documents
 
Three main aspects can be distinguished: firstly, EU developments in other policy fields (e.g. competition law, State aid rules, Internal Market provisions, common VAT scheme) which can have an impact on the financing of the sport sector; secondly, EU financial instruments (programmes and funds) which can provide funding for the sport sector and its activities; and thirdly, the exchange of best practices between different organisations and Member States.
 
The Group based its work on the EU Study on the Funding of Grassroots Sport. It held its 3rd meeting on 14 November 2012 in Brussels, where work on the deliverable was finalised.
The report from the 3rd meeting and the Expert Group’s deliverable   [663 KB] ("Strengthening financial solidarity mechanisms within sport") are now available.
The EU policy framework can have an impact on income streams for sport. All EU Member States provide aid to sport at different levels (national, regional, local/municipal), which can take various forms. Typically, central government expenditure on sport is lower than the amounts coming from regional and local governments, most of which finance local sport facilities. While some sport organisations are economically self-sufficient, for most of them public support remains essential. When financially supporting the sector, Member States need to take account of EU State aid rules. Since lottery income is an important source of public support in many Member States and is distributed either through umbrella sport organisations or directly to clubs and associations, the developing EU Internal Market provisions for gambling services, including lotteries, are of relevance. In the field of taxation, one option available to governments to support sport organisations is to reduce their fiscal obligations or those of their members and partners. This form of indirect subsidisation exists in almost all European countries. Member States have specific provisions in place regarding both indirect taxes (special or reduced rates or exemptions) and direct taxes. In this context, the EU common scheme for value-added tax (VAT) is of relevance in that it provides for VAT exemptions for certain activities of public interest, such as services linked to sport or physical education supplied by non-profit-making organisations, and for reduced rates on admission to sporting events and the use of sporting facilities.

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