MEPs join forces in support of the sports sector in Gozo

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MEPs join forces in support of the sports sector in GozoMEP Marlene Mizzzi joined forces together with MEP Therese Comodini Cachia, to host a visit of the Gozitan sports officers in the European Parliament, saying that they believe that sports is very important for a healthy society, especially since Maltese children rank badly in the obesity index.

They discussed the problems, logistical and others, which islands like Gozo encounter in their situation of double insularity.

The delegation met European Commission officials during which they discussed access to Erasmus+ funding and sport events and initiatives from which they could benefit was discussed.

The Gozitan sports officials also raised challenges including high standard human resources for training and adequate facilities needed. The fight against match fixing, doping and the role of sports in integration of various cultures was also discussed.

The delegation also met MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela, co-chair of the Sports Intergroup with whom they discussed the need for European sports policy to also look into the challenges faced by small sports organisation from peripheral regions and islands.

Mr Fisas Ayxela promised to discuss their concerns within the Sports Intergroup and the European Commission.

MEP Marlene Mizzi (S&D Group) said, "it is with pleasure that I co-hosted the visit of the Gozitan sports officers in the European Parliament because I believe that sports is very important for a healthy society, especially since Maltese children rank badly in the obesity index."

"We discussed the problems, logistic and others, which islands like Gozo encounter in their situation of double insularity. As a member of the Culture and Education (CULT) Committee I am committed to do my utmost to promote and raise awareness of the importance of sports and in its inclusion in national curricula."

She added, "EU programmes like Erasmus+ are intended to assist with the promotion and financing of sports, especially where training and expertise is concerned. But I feel that sports is still a second class subject in most schools. Children who are occupied with sports are more likely to grow into healthy adults both physically and psychologically and are less likely to get into trouble with the law."

"My husband, a sports loving member of the judiciary who has worked in the criminal Court believes that 'Keeping children on the courts is keeping them away from the Courts'. Parents and educators should not underestimate the overall benefits of sports to society," said MEP Marlene Mizzi.

During a meeting held with the delegation, Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP Group) thanked them for their efforts in making different types of sports more accessible to children and youths.

Commenting after the meeting she stated that, "with this visit we have managed to bridge the gap between the Gozitan sports delegation and the EU. The delegation had fruitful meetings in which they realised the real opportunities that EU membership offers to their endeavours in sports."

"They leave Brussels knowing how to take full benefit of funding programmes such as Erasmus+. I am looking forward to their projects being funded as I believe that this will provide Gozitan children and youths as well as their coaches with training opportunities in Gozo and abroad."

Therese Comodini Cachia concluded by saying that, "participation in structured and non-structured activity is fundamentally important and I call on the Maltese government to make sure that increased and more sufficient resources are channelled to sports in Gozo."

Comodini Cachia is EPP Group rapporteur on implementation procedures for Erasmus+.

MEPs Therese Comodini Cachia and Marlene Mizzi are members of the CULT Committee at the European Parliament which is also responsible for Sports.

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