Wednesday 15th December 2021

EASE TALKS n°2 – The implementation of the Covid-Certificate to the Sport Sector in Europe

With the European countries facing this summer the 4th wave of Covid-19 contaminations and this autumn the 5th wave, countries have implemented a covid certificate. Initially under the unified form of the European Green pass (vaccination certificate / negative test result or recovering certificate), some countries have now move to a vaccine only certificate. The European Sport Employers studied the application of such a certificate (EU Covid certificate) to the sport sector. And its 3 sub-sectors: not-for-profit, professional, and active leisure.

 

 

As displayed in the maps above, 24 / 27 seven countries have had at least one form of Covid Certificate for the access to stadiums and arenas deeply affecting the professional sports. 14 out of 27 EU countries implemented a Covid-pass for the practice of associative/notfor-profit sports. Finally, 15 out of the 27 EU countries
implemented a similar restriction on the active leisure sector (fitness clubs, climbing, …). Note that in this data, a country is considered to have implemented a covid certificate measure to one of the subsectors even if the measure has ended or only applies to part of its territory.

The covid pass was implemented in a different manner given the countries on various criteria. It was sometimes differentiated by age (often non requested for minors in this case);  sometimes differentiated by regions (mostly for federal states and often linked to the local incidence of Covid-19); sometimes necessary to work in the sport sector or at least for a profession in contact with the participants in physical activity; sometimes applicable from a certain number of people participating in the sport activity; and sometimes differentiated by practice venues (indoor/outdoor sporting activities).

The sport employers’ consultation raised different kinds of issues linked to the implementation of the covid health pass. The Netherlands and Finland face legal difficulties due to Constitutional rules that prevent asking people for a proof of vaccination. Some countries like France also face operational difficulties due to the need for more workers to control the pass (France) or political oppositions that want to block the implementation. The opposition of some clients or players to get the Covid pass has led to both a decline in sport practice and issues linked to employment in countries where the covid pass is requested to work in the sport sector or at least for a profession in contact with the participants in physical activity. Finally, some sport employers also raised financial difficulties as the implementation of the Covid pass could lead to a drop in activity that doesn’t compensate the stop of state aids.

Therefore, the covid pass is considered by sport employers as a good solution to allow the resumption of essential activity in the sport sector. The Covid pass has for instance been recognized as a solution to prevent from restrictions regarding attendance in stadiums. However, it is important to bear in mind that if the implementation of the pass does not allow the sector to experience normal activity for all the reasons mentioned above, state aid should not be completely cut off.