On 25 and 26 June 2015, the EU-Asia Institute had the honour – and the pleasure ! – to host the 10th Annual conference of the Association for the Study of Sport and the European Union (‘Sport & EU’). The Salle du Conseil on the Angers campus of ESSCA School of Management proved an excellent venue for the forty scholars from a dozen different countries and various academic disciplines that presented their most recent research on issues related to sport in Europe or participated in a couple of roundtables.
In his welcome speech, Albrecht Sonntag expressed his wish to have an inter-disciplinary, inter-national and inter-active conference. Which is exactly what happened. Several participants gratefully appreciated that the programme of the event provided for sufficient time for discussions and exchange on the different presentations.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the association, Borja Garcia Garcia, from Loughborough University,made it a point not to ‘look back in anger’, but nevertheless to look back in Angers on how difficult it had been, only ten years ago, to put sport issues on the agenda of European Studies. His memories of very sparsely attended panels at major conferences were shared by other founding members, such as Richard Parrish (Edge Hill University), An Vermeersch (Ghent University) and David Ranc (ESSCA).
Following an original keynote speech by Özgehan Senyuva (Middle East Technical University, Ankara), several thematic panels presented work in progress or forthcoming publication projects. A plenary roundtable at the end of the first day provided insight from practitioners: Alexandre Mestre, former Portuguese secretary of state for sport and co-president of the European Network for Women and Sport, spoke about his current involvement with the Sport and Citizenship think-tank and his previous experience in the Council of Ministers. Mike Coyne, from the CSES consultancy, shared information about a brand-new project on the use of structural funds for regional sports development, which his consultancy has been entrusted with following a call under Erasmus Plus.
In the evening the participants were offered a reception by City of Angers in the stunning medieval Hôpital Saint Jean and contemplated the modern tapestries by Jean Lurçat with a glass of Loire sparkling wine in their hands. A toast was given to Jean-Marc Bosman, whose fight for justice resulting in the ruling that made his name famous all across the continent, had been decisive in the creation of Sport & EU.
The second day was also organised in parallel sessions and finished with a plenary roundtable that brainstormed on the future of the association.
As Borja Garcia Garcia announced, the annual Sport & EU conference is very likely to move south of the Pyrenees next year. Given the exceptional temperatures and the sunshine over the two days of this year’s event, Angers has already prepared everybody for this move.
The complete conference programme can be consulted and downloaded here.
The website of Sport & EU can be found here.