Introduction.The role of sport and sport education in Europe is assuming a greater degree of significance in today's society. The need for purposeful and healthy forms of leisure and recreation is very evident within the European Union. In addition, the role of sport in promoting the social, economic and cultural goals of the Union is now a matter of considerable debate and without doubt, sport is an area with much latent and untapped potential.

Exercise and fitness, as part of sport, is growing strongly. The importance of sport in general and exercise and fitness more specific, will be made clear. Besides it is shown in what way exercise and fitness contributes in a qualitative way to the promotion of people on the move.

Societal importance of sport In 1992 a draft charter European Sport was discussed by the European ministers responsible for sport. In this paper it was stated:

- "Sport is a social and cultural activity which plays a fundamental role in the strengthening of the relationships between citizens in Europe and the development of an awakening of consciousness of an European identity.";

- "Measures will be taken to assure that all citizens have the opportunity to participate in sport.";

- "Playing games with the purpose to recreate, benefit health or improve performances, will be encouraged at all levels of society by making facilities, programmes and qualified leaders available";

- "All necessary initiatives will be taken to develop physical fitness and basic abilities and to encourage young people to participate in sport.";

- " Sport is an integral part of the social cultural development."

These statements show the social and cultural importance of sport in all its manifestations. In addition we would like to add the following strengths which sport brings to the European context:

- Sport offers many possibilities to achieve societal goals such as mental and physical health, civic virtues, tolerance, emancipation, integration of minorities and respect for fellow-citizens. _

In fact sports offers itself as a new bond for society.

- Active and passive participation in sport has risen enormously in the last 25 years when we look at: the number of participants, volunteers, high level sports persons and the exposure in/through the media.

- The importance of sport as an area of economic activity has increased looking at the money spent by consumers, authorities and companies. The interest of the media in sport and the recognition by sponsors of sport as a commercial opportunity has increased.

- The positive effects of sport for the participant: pleasure and satisfaction; improvements in health; supports the development of personal standards and values.

- The positive effects of sport for society as a whole: because of the number of participants sport has become one of the most important democratizing phenomena in society; it is a perfect tool for the integration of societal groups; sport has become a place for social and societal experiences.

At an European level sport may help to strengthen social cohesion and mutual understanding.

Professionalization Coaches, exercise and fitness professionals, physical education teachers and

other leaders in sport must be highly qualified for their task. The work of those profesionals is more and more influenced by the following developments:

- Sport performances at al levels are increasing. For this reason higher demands are put on those who help/support people to participate in sport.

- There is a great variety in the motives of people to participate in sport and the nature of it. This implies a need for more specialists.

- Professionalization of sport is taking place at all levels in such a way that the work and the organization is more and more structured.

- National developments are more and more dependent on those at an international level and consequently the issues of professionalization and standards which span international boundaries have become more and more important.

One of the main problems in sport is the lack of organized social partners in most of the European countries. Because of this the role of training institutions in sport is over-exposed. There is a strong need for a constructive co-operation between representatives of the field of sport and training institutions, acknowledging both specific responsabilities for the professionalization process.

Qualification Structure for the Training of Exercise and Fitness Professionals

The European Network Fitness Committee, which is part of the European Network of Sport Sciences in Higher Education, has developed a qualifiaction structure for the training of exercise and fitness professionals. In fact the qualification structure describes, in recognizable but general terms, the work and training of professionals at five different levels; it is a guideline for the development of new programmes for (vocational) training but may also be used to consider existing programmes.

Besides initiatives have been taken to develop a programme for 'learning in the workplace' and 'lifelong learning'.

Quality standard

By means of a quality standard, which defines the lower limits of the quality offered by fitness facilities, it is possible to increase the image of the sector. In this way consumers may be kindled with enthousiasm to participate in an exercise and fitness programme. Besides, once the standard is set it is possible to increase the standard in a structured way.

People on the move

Because ot the arguments given in the paragraphs 1 and 2 it is important that more and more people become active in sport. In fact it is the responsability of the government. The sector of sport, physical edudation and exercise and fitness have to take their responsability for a client oriented offer. Only then it is possible to get people on the move. It is shown in the paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 how the sector of exercise and fitness deals with her reponsability. Through international co-operation all parties may profit from each other and need not invent the wheel for the second time. People on the move, let's do it!


- Sport as a source of inspiration for our society. NOC*NSF

- European Qualification Structure of Coaches' Training European Qualification Structure for the Training of Exercise and Fitness Porfessionals

- Network News: no. 3, 1995

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Clijsen, L. People on the move! // Человек в мире спорта : Новые идеи, технологии, перспективы : Тез. докл. Междунар. конгр. - М., 1998. - Т. 2. - С. 528-529.