EPAS Breakfast Roundtable on Sport Officiating and Gender Equality

EPAS Breakfast Roundtable on Sport Officiating and Gender Equality
Tim Mossholder. Pexels 2024


Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defense.

(Strasbourg, 8 March) – On occasion of the International Women’s Day, the The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) presided over the Breakfast Roundtable on Sport officiating and gender equality, thus inaugurating an upcoming biennium brimming with new-brand projects and initiatives.

EPAS – the Council of Europe’s sports coordination body – chose for the annual debate on gender equality the seat of the Palais de l’Europe of Strasbourg, also leaving the possibility to follow online to the participants who were unable to attend in person. The event, moderated by Marie Denitton (the office director at ENGSO and Gender Equality Rapporteur EPAS CC), unfolded in two modules. The first module was dedicated to eminent experts from the sports world who presented state-of-the-art initiatives currently pursuing the goal of giving women and men equal treatment, and to female officiators who shared first hand experiences of gender discrimination. The second module, which intended to define the required measures to eradicate the problem in total, was granted to panelists and informal coffee debates. Among the most remarkable topics addressed were the efforts that the Council of Europe is making in the field and notably the recent “All in Plus: promoting gender equality in sport”. The project, in fact, launched last year to cover the biennium 2023-2025, witnessed a joint renovated commitment with the European Union, and served participants to substantiate with data the criticality of the situation, also stressing how a new balanced conception of men and women can benefit the entire sporting community.

Discrimination and unequal treatment in sports is a long-standing and startling issue that is more and more recurrent in present-day competitions, which fails to comply with the value of gender equality laid down in the European Sports Charter. The Council of Europe has been demonstrating a firm commitment to the matter for over a decade, but this issue is so deep-rooted in Europe that is far from being solved by the EPAS roundtable alone. The Breakfast roundtable reminded all countries, including individual athletes, couches, and sports organizations, of their obligations to meet the requirements in terms of equality.

Sources and Further Reading

(March 8, 2024), “Promoting greater gender equality in sport: Roundtable on how to combat discrimination against female referees”. Council of Europe. Retrieved on 10-03-2024, at: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/promoting-greater-gender-equality-in-sport-roundtable-on-how-to-combat-discrimination-against-female-referees.

(October 13, 2021), “Revised European Sports Charter”. Council of Europe. Retrieved on 10-03-2024, at: https://rm.coe.int/revised-european-sports-charter-web-a6/1680a7534b.

(March 8, 2024), “Breakfast Roundtable on Sport officiating and gender equality”. Council of Europe. Retrieved on 11-03-2024, at: https://www.coe.int/en/web/sport/breakfast-roundtable-2024.

(March 1, 2023), “What is All in Plus?”. Council of Europe European Union. Retrieved on 10-03-2024, at: https://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/gender-equality-in-sport/about-all-in-plus1.

(March 8, 2024), “01 Mar EPAS 8 March Breakfast Roundtable”. International Federation for Sports Officials. Retrieved on 10-03-2024, at: https://www.ifso.sport/2024/03/01/epas-8-march-breakfast-roundtable/.

(March 8, 2024), “Marie Denitton moderating a panel at EPAS Breakfast Roundtable on sport officiating and gender equality”. ENGSO. Retrieved on 10-03-2024, at: https://engso.eu/marie-denitton-moderating-a-panel-at-epas-breakfast-roundtable-on-sport-officiating-and-gender-equality/.