My Lords, I too welcome the European Union Committee’s report which makes a series of excellent recommendations. The one area of particular importance to me is the necessity for ongoing co-operation between the UK and the many European entities which impact sport and recreation throughout this country and the European Union. Sport contributes £37 billion to our economy and employs 581,000 people, of whom 31,000 are European nationals. We must now take advantage of new methods of exerting influence on the EU after the transition period. We will need to build close relationships with the EU committees which impact sport and recreation at all levels and, where relevant, use the UK’s diplomatic representation to the EU to exert influence where necessary—and it will be necessary, not least in dealing with the fallout from the Bosman, Cotonou and Kolpak rulings. We must finalise and then monitor and retain reciprocal arrangements which enable skilled workers, for example in seasonal sports such as skiing, to pursue employment.
Sport is also a major soft power tool for promoting our products and services and, indeed, our reputation within the European Union. We need ongoing relationships to make it easy for fans and visitors from the EU to travel to and from the UK. UK sports bodies currently benefit from European Union funding as well as UK funding. They build knowledge and share good practice with their European colleagues. I urge the Government to look at ways of retaining relationships with the relevant institutions and committees and to seek continued dialogue and involvement with European Union programmes which benefit sport and recreation to our mutual advantage. We are inextricably linked to the world of sport and recreation in Europe, not least with the tripartite agreement with Ireland and France on which the future of horseracing in this country will depend. We must win friends and influence people to ensure a win-win relationship in the future.