7 October 1992
MOTION FOR A RECOMMENDATION
on young people's involvement in high-level sport
presented by Mr BEIX and others
1. Competitors in international sports events, and more particularly the Olympic Games, are getting younger and younger and producing ever more impressive performances. These are clearly achieved by rigorous and intensive training from a very young age (training sometimes begins at age 8, 9 or 10 with a view to medals and prizes at age 15 or 16).
2. It must be wondered whether young competitors' youth is not, to some extent, being sacrificed to the demands of performance and the will to win at all costs. It may also be wondered whether intensive training harms young people's psychological and intellectual development.
3. The Council of Europe, which is particularly active in European-level sports co-operation, has adopted key instruments such as the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour (1985), the European Anti-Doping Convention (1989), the European Sports Charter (1992) and the Code of Sports Ethics (1992). It is therefore well placed to promote a set of rules laying down a minimum age (say, age 18) for practice of high-level competition.
4. The Assembly accordingly recommends that the Committee of Ministers
i. refer the matter of youth involvement in high-level sport to the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport;
ii. draw the conference's attention to the urgent need to protect young athletes from training abuse by laying down strict age requirements in keeping with the spirit of the Code of Sports Ethics adopted in 1992.
Signed: BEIX, MÜLLER, LEMOINE, DURAND, WORMS, BERG, ROKOFYLLOS, PINI, PILKA, HALLER, CARO, IWINSKI, VERBEEK, MOIS, MASSERET.