Lesbians and gays in sport
Recommendation 1635 (2003)

Doc. 10366
29 November 2004

Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 904th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (17 November 2004)

1.         The Committee of Ministers has considered Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1635 (2003) on lesbians and gays in sport, and welcomes the Assembly's interest and engagement in the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The Recommendation was forwarded to the governments of its member states.  It was also sent to its Steering Committee for the Development of Sport (CDDS).

2.         The Committee of Ministers shares the Assembly’s view that homophobia in sport should be combated in the same way as racism and other forms of discrimination.  It recognises that the issue of homophobia in sport is a matter of concern for sports policy makers and sports organisations as a means of promoting tolerance and of ensuring non-discrimination in sport (see Article 4.1 of the European Sports Charter, R (92) 13 revised).  The Charter states that the access to sport facilities or to sport activities should be open to all without discrimination.

3.         The Committee of Ministers shares the Assembly’s view that sport is a key factor in social cohesion as set out in Recommendation No. R (99) 9 on the role of sport in fostering social cohesion.  The Committee of Ministers considers that the main platform for further action in this area is at national level.

4.         With regard to the Assembly’s view regarding possible amendment of Article 4 of the European Sports Charter (paragraph 10.i.), the Committee of Ministers does not consider it necessary to amend the European Sports Charter, as all points raised in the Recommendation are covered by the revised Charter.[1]

5.         With regard to the Assembly’s proposal to address the issue of homophobia and discrimination in the preparation of the 10th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Sport (Budapest, 14-15 October 2004), the main subject of this Conference was “Good Governance in Sport”.  The conclusions of the Conference on this subject are also applicable to this issue.

6.         As regards the proposal to call upon National Ambassadors for Sport, Tolerance and Fair Play (paragraph 10.iii.) to include this element in their mission, the Committee of Ministers points out that this network, set up by the CDDS and currently under the Standing Committee of the Convention on Spectator Violence, has organised a series of Round Tables on Sport, Tolerance and Fair Play to which the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation has been invited as an observer.  Thus, the network of National Ambassadors for Sport Tolerance and Fair Play considers that its activities to promote tolerance include the fight against homophobia.  The Committee of Ministers notes that this is the first step taken towards this end within the mission of the National Ambassadors.

7.         As regards paragraph 10.iv. of the Recommendation, it was brought to the attention of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Spectator Violence at its 24th meeting at Porto on 10-11 June 2004, which has confirmed that all spectators, irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation should be able to attend sporting events in safety, security and comfort without discrimination.  The same principles of non-discrimination, in all its forms, including sexual orientation, apply also to players.  As regards the proposals at paragraph 10.iv. of the Recommendation, the Standing Committee has considered that this issue is included in its programme on fighting discrimination, for example in its work on sport, tolerance and fair play.

[1] See Recommendation No. R (92) 13 revised adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 May 2001.