European Games 2023 and Polish Olympic Committee receives volunteering funding boost

The European Commission has awarded the Polish National Olympic Committee € 1million of funding to help with volunteering at the European Games Kraków-Małopolska 2023, and other major sports events in Poland.

It is the first time that the EU has contributed to the European Games, with the funding being provided by the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. The EOC and the EOC EU Office worked alongside the Polish National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism in Poland and the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 Organising Committee to help secure the funding.

The project will be focused on promoting volunteering and its benefits in Poland over the next 12 months, and is a response to the problems and challenges related to the volunteering movement across the world. It aims to train volunteers, run promotional campaigns focused on the benefits of volunteering and to highlight the role volunteering and sport can play in promoting social inclusion among people from different backgrounds, starting at the European Games between 21 June and 2 July. Applicants have been received from across Europe for prospective volunteers.

EOC President Spyros Capralos said: “Congratulations to the Polish Olympic Committee and EOC Executive Committee Member Andrzej Krasnicki for their work in leading this project. The motto of this summer’s games is “We Are Unity” and this is fitting following the united work of many stakeholders in securing this funding.

“I am confident that the volunteering project will bring us many long-term benefits and I am convinced that by supporting organisers of future sports events and providing them with valuable resources, we will help increase the participation of volunteers and enhance the impact they have.”

“Volunteers play such a vital role in our sports clubs and at competitions. Major international events like the European Games provide an opportunity for volunteers to add to their skills and to empower sport in promoting social inclusion in Europe.”

This unprecedented step comes after a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the European Commission and the European Olympic Committees (EOC), which is based on the common values that the European Union and the EOC share. This will lay the foundation for collaboration at future events held by the EOC, including the European Youth Olympic Festivals and next European Games.

The Polish Olympic Committee will lead the project in Poland and work closely with the organisers of the European Games to successfully implement ambitious plans ahead of this summer’s event. As well as helping to train volunteers, the project will run promotional campaigns and marketing to increase awareness on the benefits of volunteering, as well as producing a series of handbooks related to volunteering and the management of volunteers.

President of the Polish Olympic Committee Radoslaw Piesiewicz said: “This is a historic programme for European sport. I would like to thank the European Commission, especially Mariya Gabriel, the former European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, for her help securing the funding and for entrusting the Polish Olympic Committee with the role of leading this project.”

 “Together we will promote the idea of volunteering and remind everyone how important it is in the organisation of large sports events, such as the European Games Krakow-Małopolska 2023, and in helping build an inclusive and welcoming society.”

The European Games

The third edition of the European Games will take place between 21 June and 2 July 2023. There will competitions in 26 sports during the games with 18 sports featuring events that are part of the Olympic qualification system for Paris 2024.  More than 7,000 athletes from 48 National Olympic Committees are expected to take part. Kraków will be the main hub of the Games with 11 different towns and cities hosting sports in a variety of different venues.