The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (Fesi) and the European Federation of Sporting Goods Retail Associations (Fedas) have announced a new cooperation agreement that is meant to further reinforce their ongoing collaboration. The document creates a long-term framework agreement focused on a restricted number of policy areas: digital, health, physical activity and intellectual property. The two organizations will also collaborate mid- to long-term on additional case-by-case projects, such as specific EU projects or grants.

Through the new agreement, for the first time Fedas will be able to mandate representatives to take part in the work of Fesi's steering committees, such as those on Trade, Industry Operations, Digitalization, Corporate Responsibility and Sport Business. It will also reinforce Fedas' participation in organizing the work carried out by Fesi to promote physical activity and sport, in coordination with the European institutions and other relevant stakeholders. In addition, Fedas will now have “programmed access” to Fesi's services, such as market intelligence, EU projects and funds, communication, regulatory guidance on EU legislation and networking.

The new agreement is intended to strengthen the overall representation of the sporting goods sector in Europe. While Fesi is the representative body for the sporting goods industry in Europe, Fedas represents the trans-border interests of specialist sports retailers forming part of associations in certain European countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. On the other hand, the major retailer Foot Locker Europe is a member of Fesi and JD Sports Fashion is indirectly represented through its controlling shareholder, Pentland Group.

The closer collaboration between Fesi and Fedas is regarded as a logical step, as vendors are increasingly taking the place of retailers, addressing consumers directly online and offline, while retailers are developing their private label collections.

After the appointment last year of a new joint president, Michael Nendwich, Fedas launched a new website, www.fedas.biz, and struck new partnerships with two other European bodies, EPSI and ClusSport. It has been working with EPSI, the Brussels-based European Platform for Sport Innovation, on vocational training in the sporting goods sector and research in the field of online shopping, for example. Together with ClusSport, a consortium of 13 regional clusters in Europe that are investing in the sports sector, it has been developing two projects: Vitaly@Work in the area of company sports, and Smart Vital Cities for the use of technology to improve the local sports infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Fesi's general assembly is expected to vote on Nov. 8 on a simplified membership structure, new voting guidelines, a reduction in the number of working committees and other changes that will make the association more representative and more efficient. The new measures follow the transformational work done by dedicated task forces nominated after the election in November 2017 of a new president, Frank Dassler, and a new secretary general, Jérôme Pero. Fesi's board has also endorsed the principle of raising the organization's budget in order to expand its staff, add new services and boost communication.