Sport is a dream of justice

A two-day scientific conference titled “Sport, Health, and Environment “ organized by the Faculty of Sport of the University ”Union – Nikola Tesla“ started with a round table on ”Human rights – rights of athletes”. Interestingly, the Council of Europe chose the Faculty of Sport to launch the topic for the first time, and together with Snežana Samardžić Marković, the Director General of the Directorate for Democracy of the Council of Europe, Brankica Janković, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, took part in the discussion and  Dr. Dragan Atanasov, vice-dean of the Faculty of Sports, also director of the Judo Federation of Serbia.

Among the guests of the Faculty of Sport in New Belgrade were deans of related faculties from Serbia, but also from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as famous sports workers and officials: Jean Grasia, vice president of the European Athletics Federation, Svetozar Mijailovic, president of the FC Red Star, Bratislav Djordjevic, former basketball coach, Milena Reljin, celebrated gymnast, Dragan Jovic, famous trainer …

– Like every year, the Faculty of Sport is trying to make the Scientific Conferences not only interesting to scientists, professors, researchers, but also the whole system of sports, so this year we delegated two themes: “Human Rights – Real Athletes” and “Diplomacy in Sports”. Their actuality, bearing in mind the numerous challenges that a whole modern civilization faces, is another reason why we chose to deal with this topic –  professor PhD. Ivanka Gajić said in her introductory speech.

The debate on gender equality in sport, the fight against violence against children in sport, hate speech was discussed, but the biggest debate was guided by whether the rigorous rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency violate the human rights of athletes, and above all the right to freedom of movement.

– Athletes are obliged to report to the Antidoping Agency their place of residence, because if the control does not find them at the registered address they receive a yellow card. Three yellow cards automatically signify four years of suspension – it was the statement of Dragan Atanasov, which was compiled by Snežana Samardžić Marković.

– When something that threatens justice comes up, it should be uprooted. They should not be victims if they did not know what they did. But, you need to be careful in the procedure of proof. There is also the role of institutions, i.e. clubs and trainers, as they need to inform the athlete what they are obligated to sign an anti-doping agency contract.

She also stressed that it is very important for the Council of Europe to preserve the autonomy of sports and CAS.

– Sport is a dream of justice, a healthy life and it can fall apart in front of our eyes if nothing is done. The Council of Europe has been given the mandate and a request from sports ministers to review the European Charter of Sport and we will begin to work on it next year. This will be done by EPAS, and will be attended by colleagues from national ministries. Also, the revision of the European Charter of Sport will be done by the non-governmental sector, those who are representatives of the federations – said Snežana Samardžić Marković, on the panel.

Minister Trivan: Environment is a question of all issues

Minister of Environmental Protection, Goran Trivan, was the guest of the fifth Scientific Conference “Sport, Health, Environment” organized by the Faculty of Sport of the University “Union – Nikola Tesla”. He reminded the attendees of the importance that a healthy environment has in the overall training process of athletes. He also pointed out the importance of the cooperation that the Ministry of Youth and Sports has with the Ministry of Environment.

– It is a great pleasure to be here today with you. Serbia pays great attention to the sport, and this is also indicated by the fact that the Ministry of Youth and Sports was formed in 1991, because it was then clear that this was necessary for the entire society. Also, it is inextricably linked with the line ministry that I lead. Our common goal is to continue to achieve results with the idea that school sport will be a base that will enable the development of top sports later on. The state must continue to finance school sport, and there are also no areas that are not environmentally dependent – Minister Trivan said and then added:

Environment, sport and health are inextricably linked. We all have to deal with the environment, because that’s the question of all the issues. But it’s a long journey from the fact to its recognition. We should invest a lot of effort in order to have a healthy environment. We will try to do everything in order for our athletes to have the best conditions for training, because it is very important that the training takes place in a healthy spring and a healthy environment – said Trivan.

Assistant of the Minister of Youth and Sports Darko Udovičić, thanked the Faculty of Sports for recognizing that in the field of sports, diplomacy is also very important:

– While I worked in the Waterpolo Association of Serbia and in the organization of waterpolo competitions, I had the opportunity to participate in some kind of sports diplomacy. Frankly, I felt that diplomacy in the sport is still undiscovered for us. A country like Serbia, big athletes, results and teams can and must capitalize on the potential of sports and diplomacy. We, as the Ministry of Youth and Sports, have realized the seriousness of this topic, so we have been working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the past few months to develop a database of athletes and sports professionals working abroad who want to get involved in the field of sports diplomacy. Also, we want to create a base of athletes and trainers who in a certain destination can in the foreseeable future take a significant place in our diploma. That is why we do not want to abuse them, but in the right way we use their strength and influence, and in that way, open our door to better relations with our country for better interstate relations”, said Udovičić.

Panel discussion on diplomacy in sport was held

The rights of athletes and diplomacy in sports are topics that are not well known and talked about, for the first time by the Council of Europe, in Serbia, in cooperation with the Faculty of Sports of the University “Union – Nikola Tesla”. Within the framework of the international conference “Sport, health, environment”, organized by the Faculty of Sport in New Belgrade for the fifth time, panel discussions on the mentioned topics were held with the participation of highly competent interlocutors.

Participants in the discussion on diplomacy in sports were Snežana Samardžić Marković, Director General of the Directorate for Democracy of the Council of Europe, Jean Grasia, Vice President of the European Athletic Federation, Nenad Vuković, President of the Association of Lobbyists of Serbia and Asst. Prof. Uroš Mitrović from the Faculty of Sport. In addition to the dean of related faculties from Serbia, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, among them were Minister of Environment Goran Trivan, Assistant of the Minister of Youth and Sports Darko Udovičić, Provincial Secretary for Sports Vladimir Batez and Protection Commissioner of equality Brankica Jankovic.

The participants of this scientific meeting expressed their gratitude to the Faculty of Sports, which enabled the professional aspect to be discussed about these increasingly important segments of sports.

– It is a great honor for me to receive a call from Belgrade for this scientific conference. The European Athletic Federation I represent is an organization that gathers 51 national athletic associations. It is very important for us to improve the relationship between sports, other institutions and different countries. We have a role in sports, and this is not just the awarding of medals, but also to be involved in changing the society for better health, greater inclusion and stronger integrity – said Jean Grasia, vice president of the European Athletic Federation.

Snežana Samardžić Marković says that the diplomacy is a continuous fight and represents the first line of defense.

– The topic of diplomacy in sports is very important. Professional sports ambassador is necessary. Sport is the promotion of a country’s foreign policy. Diplomacy is a way to defend the sport from negative phenomena. For this, someone is obliging and authorized. Strategically, you need to take advantage of great sporting events because the sport has the power to attract both business and tourists. Sports diplomacy is a method to calm the situation. Diplomacy skills are taught, but not by birth. Diplomats and officials should protect athletes from anything that has nothing to do with sports. We need to separate politics from sports.

Nenad Vuković, president of the Serbian lobbying association, pointed out how much lobbying is important for organizing large sports events and added:

– I do not know if it is known, but Novak Djokovic and Milorad Čavic are honorary members of the lobbyists of Serbia since 2009. The qualities of a good lobbyist are personal integrity and social networking. Lobbyists are always able to express a message more strongly.

Professor at the Faculty of Sport, Uroš Mitrović tried to explain from the scientific side the concept of sports diplomacy:

– When it comes to sports diplomacy, this is a relatively new phenomenon and, in theory, there is still no single and generally accepted definition of this phenomenon. The fact is, however, that sports diplomacy implies strategic, conscious and regular use of sports, sports events and athletes by state and non-state actors in order to achieve foreign policy goals and different interests of countries in international relations.

At the fifth international scientific conference “Sport, health, environment”, as many as 40 scientific papers from various sports fields were presented.

Organizing Committee
professor Ivanka Gajić, phd

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