Warsaw hosts the fifth EMPLOYS conference to discuss good governance principles in athletes’ employment

The fifth EMPLOYS Multiplier Sport Event was held on June 17th, 2022, in the beautiful and historical city of Warsaw to discuss good governance in the employment relations of athletes in Olympic sports in Europe. Although attendees of the meeting were mostly participating online, the EOA and other delegates showed their support with their on-site presence in the event hosted by the Institute for Sport Governance.

The objective of the EMPLOYS project is to understand, evaluate, improve, and analyse the good governance of athlete’s employment in Europe. Further elaborating on each element, respectively:

  1. Understand – create an evidence base of the legal and socio-political landscape that defines the labor relations of athletes in Olympic sport in 29 European countries and the European Union;
  2. Evaluate – assess current practice across the continent;
  3. Improve – formulate and implement concrete policy recommendations for key stakeholders

The meeting focused on the employment relations of Olympic athletes in Eastern Europe with a specific regard to two pillars of employment: salary and commercial opportunities. This was spread over three sessions. The first, presenting the project’s underlining legal framework, conceptualisation and evaluation of the current situation was livestreamed from the simultaneous “Sports and EU” conference, held in Lausanne. The second and third panel were held from Warsaw.

The panels in Warsaw took a more practical approach than the previous MSE conferences, as athletes who were dissatisfied with the sporting bodies governing their careers were invited to speak. Overseeing their terms and agreements as an athlete, the system had failed them and left them empty handed after their careers due to the lack of protection of employment rights, it was informed. The following discussion provided new perspectives, insights, and opportunities to understand where to place focus for growth and improvement. While it is always valuable to listen to the stakeholders themselves, who are directly working in the governing of athletes from their countries, it is as necessary to hear the athletes perspective as well, both satisfied and unsatisfied. The conference in Warsaw significantly contributed with this outcome to the project findings.

After five successful conferences held in various cities and formats, the concluding conference will take place in autumn 2022 in Brussels, as a closing event to the research project. The EOA looks forward to collaborating in this event!

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