PtG Article 07.12.2016

Sports leaders and researchers in seven countries form alliance to improve national governance standards

Play the Game joins forces with universities and sports bodies in seven countries to raise national governance standards by adapting and using the Sports Governance Observer tool.

One year after Play the Game and KU Leuven launched the first comprehensive report on the governance standards of the international sports federations, the Sports Governance Observer 2015 report, a big group of stakeholders has now received support to start analysing and improving sports governance in their home countries.

Thanks to a grant worth 383,000 euros from EU’s Erasmus+ programme, Play the Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) will over the next two years act as the coordinator of academics and sports leaders in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Romania who are all eager to embark on a reform process.

“We are most grateful for the EU support and the commitment from that many partners,” says Jens Sejer Andersen, international director of Play the Game/Idan and project coordinator.

“Sports governance is at the top of the international agenda these days, and almost every day brings surprising evidence of how badly sport is run ,” he says, adding that engagement and evidence is now needed to make the necessary reforms:

“Together, we will be able to strengthen the debate on how sport is governed in the respective countries, and we will be able compare the governance standards across sports, across national boundaries, and across the national and international level.”

The project sets out to adapt the Sports Governance Observer tool so it is relevant in each national context, while still keeping a wide common ground that allows for comparisons.

Moreover, the project will seek to enable sports leaders and outside stakeholders to measure, discuss and amend the governance standards in their own context, and create sustainable networks between academics, practitioners and other key stakeholders.

Government officials will get knowledge and tools that enable them to engage in dialogue with the sports movement in order to create a robust framework for sport’s use of public grants.

And of course, the project will strive to produce a lot of data that can help inspire and qualify the debate on sports governance worldwide.

The partners of the project entitled “National Sports Governance Observer: Benchmarking sports governance across national boundaries” (acronym SGO2017), are:

  • KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Flemish Sports Confederation (VSF), Belgium
  • Cyprus Sports Organisation (CSO), Cyprus
  • Danish Institute for Sports Studies, Denmark
  • Danish Football Association (DBU), Denmark
  • Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), Council of Europe
  • European Association for Sports Management (EASM)
  • German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
  • Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Norwegian Football Association (NFF), Norway
  • Molde University College (MUC), Norway
  • University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Polish Golf Union (PGU), Poland
  • University of Bucharest, Romania
  • Romanian Football Federation (FRF), Romania

It is likely that stakeholders from other countries, inside and outside the EU, will later be attached to the project with other kinds of financial support.

You can read more about the project in the summary, and the full project information is available at the Erasmus+ project result platform.