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Public-private partnerships open new doors: Sports organisations and municipalities see advantages in joining forces

Public-private partnerships in sport and physical activity open the door to opportunities to carry out initiatives that cannot run on public or private funds alone. That was the key message representatives of grassroots sports organisations and municipalities in Brazil, Germany and Spain stressed in the session ‘Experiences from innovative partnerships in sport’ at the start of Day 3 of the MOVE Congress 2013.


Celso Jatene from the City of São Paolo and Maria Luiza Souza Dias from SESC showed how working together has paved the way for local initiatives such as the Day of Sport (Dia do Desafio), Virada Esportiva and MOVE Brasil. Lena Knorr from the City of Stuttgart explained how joining forces with Schwäbischer Turner-Bund (STB) has been an effective way of making more programmes available for its diverse population to get active. Montserrat Mas, CEO of Eurofitness, closed the session by showing how municipalities are aiming to tackle the statistic that one in seven deaths in Spain are put down to physical inactivity.


Mas traced the shift from state and city governments being responsible for providing adequate sport for all facilities to municipalities leading the way in this field. As the head of a private sport and fitness centre, she recognises how important it is to take advantage of the additional support municipalities can offer to the sector.


“Municipalities are becoming stronger and stronger in sport and physical activity so together we’ve become a cross-cutting phenomenon,” she said.


But public-private partnerships in sport and physical activity are ultimately there to serve their local communities, which is what Knorr says is essential when the City of Stuttgart and STB plan their initiatives.


“Our model for promoting physical activity wouldn’t make sense if we didn’t have knowledge of our citizens’ needs and expectations,” she said.


The sport organisation/municipality partnerships featured in the session are working together as part of ISCA’s ACTIVE Network project, supported by the EU.


By Rachel Payne, ISCA