The Premier League and Arsenal FC into grassroots
posted on Sunday, November 14, 2010 11:37 PM
The European Commissioner responsible for sport, Androulla Vassiliou, has visited the Premier League and Arsenal.
Androulla Vassiliou visited the Premier League and Arsenal FC to discuss the EU's new role in sport and to observe a number of community programmes run by the north London club.
Commissioner Vassiliou's visit began with a meeting at the Premier League headquarters with chief executive Richard Scudamore. The pair discussed the Premier League's investment in good causes and commitment to delivering community programmes at home and abroad, such as the part EU funded 'Double Club' education project and Premier Skills, the League's overseas coach development scheme.The meeting also proved a valuable opportunity to discuss some of the League's areas of interest in Europe, specifically the way Intellectual Property rights underpin the ability of elite sports to invest in the grassroots, and the importance of freedom of movement of players within the EU.
As a result of the EU's 2009 Lisbon Treaty Commissioner Vassiliou is responsible for implementing the EU's competence in sport and will be specifically looking into the funding of grassroots sport by professional sports bodies including how broadcast and gambling revenues contribute to sport and the economic impact of sport as a whole.
Commissioner Vassiliou also spent time observing a number of Arsenal FC's community programmes including the Future Jobs Fund, a programme run by Arsenal in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, and an Arsenal Double Club language class for local school children.
The Commissioner was joined by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis at Elthorne Park to observe Arsenal's Gap Year programme, a scheme that gives gap year students the chance to earn coaching qualifications via the club's community department and overseas soccer schools. Gazidis took the opportunity to discuss Arsenal's community work and underline the club's commitment to community projects and youth development.
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "We are extremely pleased that Commissioner Vassiliou has visited the Premier League and grateful to Arsenal for hosting her at some of their excellent community schemes.
"The Premier League and our clubs have a long held commitment to good cause programmes at home and overseas and employ hundreds of staff dedicated to running a wide range of projects that last season benefitted more than two million people. We look forward to continued engagement with the European Commission in this area of our work."
European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: "I would like to congratulate the Premier League and Arsenal for their commitment to 'giving something back' to local communities through their support for social and educational projects. Sport - and football in particular - has an unrivalled capacity to act as a catalyst for social change.
"I hope that schemes like Kickz and the Double Club will inspire similar partnerships elsewhere. By working as a team, we can make the difference."
Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, said: "We were delighted to host Commissioner Vassiliou's visit to London and hope that she enjoyed seeing some of the club's fantastic community work first-hand, as an example of the Premier League's commitment to grass-roots investment.
"Arsenal in the Community has reached in excess of one million individuals over the past 25 years through a variety of education, sport, social inclusion, charitable and global initiatives. This highlights the responsibility and ongoing commitment that we, as a Club, have towards serving the people at the very heart of our communities."