Elections 2024: Who should I vote for if I want to see more sports for everybody?

In the run-up to the June elections, Belgium's political parties are staking out their positions on key issues. Today we take a look at where they stand on sport.

Sport does not seem to be a particularly divisive issue. All parties, both in Flanders and Wallonia, agree that sport should be more accessible to everyone. But not everyone agrees on how this accessibility should be achieved.

More sport

Every major political party in Belgium believes that more sport is a good thing. They all believe that the government should encourage more Belgians to take part in sport, as this would improve their mental and physical well-being.

For many parties, this starts with making participation in sport more accessible. Membership of clubs should be made more affordable, while the financial burden on these clubs should be reduced. Parties on the left, such as Groen and Vooruit, also stress the importance of preventing sexually transgressive behaviour and promoting gender equality in these clubs.

Local importance

Secondly, Belgium's politicians are aware that the country needs more sports infrastructure. In particular, several parties across the political spectrum - including PVDA, Ecolo, Open VLD and N-VA - highlight the need for new swimming pools across the country.

Finally, this infrastructure should be built based on the needs of local citizens, as it must first and foremost serve the community. For CD&V, for example, this infrastructure should also be used for other creative activities, while Groen emphasises the importance of neighbourhood initiatives.

Top sports

The role of elite athletes seems to be more important for parties in the centre and on the right. Open VLD is the most open, making the organisation of international sporting events one of the pillars of its sports policy. The Christian Democrat Les Engagés emphasises the need to support "elite athletes".

The N-VA, as part of the Flemish government, has been outspoken about the importance about top sports for years: it increased the "Flemish budget for elite sport" to 30 million euros per year in 2023.

"Extra investment in top-level sport pays off"

"Extra investment in top-level sport pays off: it gives wings to our top athletes, it strengthens the image of Flanders abroad and domestically it is often the best way to promote sport," said Flemish Sport minister Ben Weyts at the time.

Representing Flanders?

While Vlaams Belang also believes in the importance of sports, it is the odd one out based on its programme for the elections. The far-right party believes the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) and the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) should be split into Flemish and Wallonian branches, and Flemish athletes should represent Flanders instead of Belgium on the international level. According to Vlaams Belang, the government should also mandate a limit on transfers of non-EU players for football clubs on all levels.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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