The Brussels-based House of Sport, a joint initiative established in 2015 by several leading organizations in the European sport and active leisure sector has organized a symposium called “Physical Activity: Tomorrow’s cure.”
Europe’s high inactivity levels make physical fitness awareness a high priority for the initiative as well as for The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), which believes physical activity may have an economic impact as well, officials said.
FESI plans to highlight its core activity of improving economic and policy knowledge in the field of sport-related industries, particularly the sporting goods sector. As the sole representative of the European sporting goods industry, FESI has convinced the Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs to launch a specific study on the economic dimension of sports.
The study seeks to research the economic importance of sport-related industries, and has the objective of formulating policy recommendations on how to boost the competitiveness of these industries, specifically the sporting goods sector. FESI addressed the theme “healthy economies” during the second round table at the House of Sport Conference, held in Brussels this past June.
FESI and the House of Sport are advocates for physical activity and its integration in EU policies, and are applauding the fact that researchers and policy makers are finally acknowledging the cause. The House of Sport’s 20 partners are supporting European Week of Sport (EWOS), which began Saturday, September 10, with great dedication. The alliance used EWOS momentum to showcase positive health-enhancing physical activity examples and practices.
The symposium also had other objectives, including the delivery of a consolidated message on the need to raise the profile of sport, leisure and physical activity, highlighting several good practices and successes in Europe and crafting recommendations directed at European institutions, the sport sector and the general public.
The symposium also focused on healthy lifestyle and healthy societies. The conference began with a welcome speech by Alain Courtois, first Alderman of the City of Brussels. This was followed by two opening speeches by Yves Le Costecque, head of the European Commission Sports Unit, and Gitte Lambrechts-Courtois, physiotherapist and mother of Belgium’s football goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. To put theory into practice and set a clear example, all attendees were invited to participate in a 2km walk.
FESI Secretary General Alberto Bichi commented that “as a founding member of the House of Sport alliance and as an activist, FESI will continue to raise awareness on the long-term benefits of physical activity and to emphasize the detrimental effects of the lack thereof. Representing the sporting goods industry, it is our duty to make sports accessible to the European public…For that purpose, we remain closely involved in cross-sectoral incentives that push sport on the political agenda.”