The Isle of Man’s eminence in sports management and development has been recognised with its designation as European Community of Sport for 2012.
Hon Tim Crookall, Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure, recently travelled to Brussels to accept the award on behalf of the Island. Gian Francesco Lupattelli, the Aces Europe President, presented him with the European Community of Sport award at a ceremony in the European Parliament.
The award designates the Isle of Man the European Community of Sport 2012 – a new category created by ACES for 2012 to enable small communities like the Isle of Man to be recognised alongside the big cities of Europe.
Minister Crookall said:
‘This a highly prestigious honour, presented by the organisation which awards the annual European City of Sport. The status of the award is highlighted by the fact that it was presented in the European Parliament building.
‘The Community of Sport award is a new category which allows ACES to recognise and reward excellence in sporting provision at community level.
‘Being the recipients of the first Community of Sport Award is a very great honour bestowed upon the Isle of Man by sporting professionals from across Europe. The judges were very impressed not only by our sporting facilities but by the way in which Manx Sport & Recreation has used innovative approaches and partnership working to achieve levels of activity amongst our young people, which are the envy of other European countries.’
More than 400 people were present at the awards ceremony, which commenced with speeches by six Members of the European Parliament. The main speaker at the ceremony was Androulla Vassiliou from Cyprus, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Youth and Sport.
The main accolade of European Capital of Sport went to Istanbul, and the 2011 winners Valencia were also present to hand over the award. The next two holders were also announced, Antwerp in 2013 and Cardiff in 2014.
In addition a number of European Cities and Towns of Sport awards were made including Preston from the UK and Thurles from Ireland.
Top officials from the European Capitals of Sport Association (ACES) visited the Isle of Man on 15 June to announce the Island was to receive the honour.
The ACES party comprised of ACES European President Gian Francesco Lupattelli from Italy, John Swanson, Deputy European President from Scotland, Jim Logue, Honorary UK President from Scotland and Steve Morris, UK Vice President from Wales.