Bern, 29.11.2023 – The Federal Council wishes to develop the promotion of sport, for example by providing the possibility of supplementing the support provided to sports facilities and major sporting events, by expanding the Youth and Sport (J+S) incentive program ) or by introducing criminal prosecution for personal consumption of doping products. These areas require the revision of the law on the encouragement of sport (LESp). During its meeting on November 29, the Federal Council tasked the DDPS with developing a legislative project by 2025.
The Swiss population is increasingly practicing sport and physical activity. It therefore needs more space and infrastructure for these activities. At the same time, society’s expectations of sport and the Confederation’s promotion of sport are increasing. It is therefore a question of developing the promotion of sport. The Federal Council has taken note of a discussion note from the DDPS on this subject. He instructed the DDPS to revise the current Sports Promotion Act (LESp) from 2012 and to develop a plan by 2025 for the promotion of popular and competitive sport in the future.
Popular sport: little space available
With regard to popular sport, both the increase in sporting activity of the population and a more individual practice of sport generate, for example, growing conflicts of use or an increased need for public spaces to practice sporting activities or physical facilities, sports halls, football fields and other infrastructure. It is also necessary to determine how to interest more children in participating in the Youth and Sport (J+S) incentive program. The revision work must essentially examine and clarify the following aspects:
• Support for innovative sports facilities by the Confederation: the role of the Confederation in ensuring public access to spaces suitable for physical activity will be clarified; then the possibility of contributing financially to innovative facilities for popular sport will be examined.
• Investment contributions for three or four decentralized winter sports centers instead of one national snow sports center: in this way the Confederation will be able to encourage snow sports camps.
• Development of J+S: this involves possibly increasing the age limit from five to four years and launching the program for sports offers outside of traditional sports and youth associations. J+S’s high requirements for training, sports practice and safety apply in this context.
Competitive sport: investments in sports facilities and major events
• The Confederation can already support major international sporting events such as the world championships and the European championships. This revision of the law makes it possible to examine whether major recurring events with international influence can also benefit from financial support. Parliament has already decided on this possibility in June 2023 for the events which will take place from 2025 to 2029.
• Likewise, a new legal basis is being examined, which provides for supporting the operation of sports facilities of national importance, and not just their construction as up to now. This would result in the expansion of the Design of Sports Facilities of National Importance (CISIN).
Support measures for ethical sport
• Personal consumption of doping products will be punishable and the criminal provisions of the LESp will be extended to this effect. The report of the Federal Council drawn up in response to a postulate of Parliament (Dobler postulate) will constitute the basis to be considered in this matter. Currently, personal consumption of doping substances is not criminally prosecuted. Offending sportsmen and women only incur sanctions (e.g. suspension) applied by the sports system.
• The role of the Confederation and the cantons in imposing the application of the convention on the rights of the child in the sporting field must be clarified. It is also a question of answering the question of whether the instructions on ethics and governance, which have been regulated in an ordinance since March 2023, should be anchored in law.
Other areas of the revision concern the Magglingen Federal University of Sports (HEFSM) (numerus clausus for admission to studies, use of third-party resources) and data protection.
The Federal Council has instructed the DDPS to develop by the end of 2025 a draft modification of the LESp which will be put out for consultation and to estimate the resources necessary for its implementation.
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