ISCA Secretariat: Vester Voldgade 100, 2, DK-1552 Copenhagen, Denmark - CVR 29 50 05 41 Tel: +45 29 48 55 51 / [email protected]
  • A stone in the sports shoe
    Comment by ISCA, International Dance Organization and Play the Game.  Acknowledging the diversity of the models of European sport is key to combating the decrease in sport participation and in supporting our recovery from the pandemic, including the HealthyLifestyl4All initiative. To recover from the effects of the pandemic on sport and its costly decrease in physical activity among European citizens, and to reach the full potential of the sport sector in Europe, we need to build on inclusive communication and involvement from all stakeholders. Unfortunately, some myths about the term ‘European Model of Sport’ still create a skewed description of the reality, which is exclusive and counterproductive to the goal of engaging all stakeholders in the European sport sector. Persisting misconceptions of the ‘European Model of Sport’ are, so to say, ‘a stone in the sports shoe’ and should be removed to assist freedom of movement! There is a huge aspiration and commitment to realise the full potential of the European sport sector, from the European institutions through European initiatives and policy, which was recently exemplified in the European Parliament draft report on the study ‘EU sports policy: assessment and possible ways forward’. Additionally, Commissioner Gabriel is launching the HealthyLifestyl4All initiative to encourage everyone to utilise the full potential of cross-sector, health-enhancing initiatives. These initiatives and their success rely on inclusion and commitment from all stakeholders in the sport sector. Therefore, we suggest to remove the exclusive and mistaken wordings from the Draft Council Resolution on the European Model of Sport’. Remove the exclusive reference to ‘one federation per sport’.Cherish and support the freedom of association as a fundamental principle, also of sport. Remove the reference to a ‘pyramidal structure encompassing all levels of sport from grassroots to elite sport’.Acknowledge and recognise the ‘diversity of models and approaches across sports and countries’ and that the vast majority of citizens are active outside the pyramid of competitions. Remove the postulation of ‘financial solidarity between top-level sport and grassroots sport’.Consider that grassroots sport is primarily financed by the participants and the public sector, and note that revenue streams often go in the opposite direction – i.e. from the grassroots to the elite. Characteristics of sport in the European Countries Diversity in the organisation of sport.European sport consists of a variety of settings; self-organised, private for profit and not least not for profit voluntary based sport clubs.The not-for-profit sector is diverse. The majority of countries have diverse organisational structures including single sport federations; national organisations are typically oriented towards grassroots and sport participation; theme and target group oriented organisations, such as school sport associations, company sport associations, senior sport associations, etc. Diversity in financing of sportFunding of grassroots sport, health and participation oriented sport comes primarily from participants/citizens themselves.Several countries give significant public support to grassroots sport, health and participation primarily from municipal level. This public support varies from 0 to +100 euros per capita.State level public support varies in size and whether it targets primarily elite or grassroots sport. It often comes from lottery income. Inequality in participation levelHuge differences between citizens’ participation levels across countries. The Eurobarometer on Sport 2018 shows a variation between countries from 68% to 13% of citizens stating they never exercise or play sport. This comment piece has been presented to the European Parliament in response to its ‘Draft report on EU sports policy: assessment on possible ways forward’ and the ‘Draft Council Resolution on the European Model of Sport’ in advance of the CULT Committee meeting held on 31 August 2021. 
    A stone in the sports shoe
  • Registration is now OPEN for the MOVE Congress 2021!
    Hungry to return to a real, live conference? Eager to see your colleagues and friends from grassroots sport and physical activity organisations in different countries? The MOVE Congress is opening its doors in Brussels on 17 November 2021, ready to Reconnect, Rebuild, and Restart our sector moving into 2022. Registration is now OPEN and early bird seats are limited! The 10th edition of the MOVE Congress will be held from 17-19 November 2021 in Brussels, Belgium, and organised by ISCA in close cooperation with Visit Brussels and the venue Tour&Taxis. This year we are focusing on motivating and equipping our members, project partners and broader network of physical activity promoters to restart their activities and adapt to the challenges brought about by the pandemic and its impact on the sport sector. We want to create a space for you to:Reconnect with experts and peers from your field – including your target groups! Rebuild your confidence, strategies and political muscles to promote physical activity Restart your activities in fresh and inclusive ways Preliminary programme highlightsSoon we will announce the first confirmed speakers for the event and this year’s programme will feature the following themes and highlights: A dynamic opening and awards show rewarding initiatives and role models in Integration of Refugees Through Sport. Find out more about the ISCA AwardsAn interactive networking space in the innovative Tour&Taxis venue. Read more about the venueA Plenary session featuring political movers and shakers from the heart of Europe and beyond.Reconnect: Integration of Refugees Through Sport workshop run by refugees who started their own movements in humanitarian work and sport for development in Europe.Rebuild: Sport Diplomacy workshop featuring international experts who are re-establishing diplomatic relations across borders through sport.Restart: Placemaking workshop where we grasp the opportunity and trend presented by the pandemic to reimagine our outdoor spaces as places for exercise.Mastering partnerships after Covid-19: Masterclass featuring high profile international NGOs who are reaching out to the sport and physical activity sector.Rebuilding mental health through physical activity: Masterclass led by Youth Sport Trust International looking at one of the most striking outcomes of the pandemic and how our sector can help.Mastering a new era of physical activity promotion: Masterclass and solution factory – bring your own challenges and we will tackle them together using design thinking and start-up creativity! Limited seats!Seats will be limited due to gathering restrictions at the venue, so book early to secure your spot! The MOVE Congress 2021 organisers will take care to ensure a safe event following all national guidelines in Belgium. Please check the travel entry requirements for your country and we will also update participants regularly. You can read our Covid-19 and cancellation policies here. We can’t wait to see you at the MOVE Congress and welcome you back to the future of sport and physical activity! Visit the MOVE Congress website
    Registration is now OPEN for the MOVE Congress 2021!
  • Introductory course to Sports Club for Health approach now online
    Are you interested in learning how to improve the availability and quality of health-enhancing sports activities offered by your community sports organisation? We invite you to take part in a free 30-minute Sports Club for Health (SCforH) online course, launched as part of the SCforH project.  The Sports Club for Health approach was established in 2008 and has been developed over the past decade by professionals working in community sport and physical activity. Learn the SCforH approach in a fun way by completing the interactive online course in one of 25 different languages. You will receive a certificate upon completion of the course. The course gives participants a step-by-step introduction to the process of applying the SCforH approach in a sports club or association. The course consists of 7 short units: Introduction to the courseBackgroundGuiding principles of the SCforH approachBenefits of the SCforH approachPhysical activity recommendationsHealth benefits of sport and physical activityApplication model for sports clubs and associations. The content has been developed by an international team of experts in the field of sports and health promotion. Its development was supported by the European Commission, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. As we would like to improve the course for you in the future, we also kindly ask you to complete the questionnaire at the end of course. ISCA is a partner in the Sports Club for Health project funded by the European Commission. More information about the project can be found here
    Introductory course to Sports Club for Health approach now online
  • The battle for the European Sports Model: Comment by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby
    Photo: What to do about the stubborn reality that isn't a pyramid of sport? (Danish National Performance Team, Gudrun Clausen.)  There is currently a tough, sports political power struggle over the narrative of European sport. A battle of words where sports federations with relations to the International Olympic Committee want a monopoly-like organisational structure based on the organisational narrative of a pyramid model with a blissful and unbreakable connection between recreational sports and medal sports – and where the money reportedly flows from the elite to the grassroots. But the advocates for this so-called "Pyramid Model" need to answer at least two questions:Do you want to abolish freedom of association?What to do about the stubborn reality, which is not a pyramid of sport? Council of Europe and freedom of associationThe sports political battle is being waged on many fronts. One of them is the revision of the Sport Charter of the Council of Europe. This Charter has historical weight and, not least, it is a basis for fundamental human rights. It forms a value base for the practice and organisation of sport in Europe and works as guidance for the countries' and civil society's delivery of sport and exercise. The Council of Europe was established in 1949, and the cornerstone of the co-operation is the accession of the Member States to the Convention on Human Rights. In Article 11, the Convention clearly states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association […]" Organisational pluralismMost member states, researchers in the sports sector and organisations without affiliation to the IOC believe that the sporting reality in Europe is characterised by, among other things, diversity and organisational pluralism. Organisations with relations to the International Olympic Committee defend the pyramid model with a unitary, monopolised structure. It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to promote a narrative which is in one’s own interest. It was also predictable that it would be staged unanimously and coordinated by the members of the Olympic family. That is how sport politics is today. But it becomes a voice from the past when the proponents believe that the organisations that make up the pyramid are THE MODEL that describes European sport. And that we should do everything we can to protect exactly that perception and the economic interests of these organisations in order to save sport participation in the European continent. What happened to the many civil society organisations outside of the sport federations, which are also providing sport and physical activities for citizens? Do they no longer exist; do they not have freedom of association? Economic solidarity?It also gets troublesome when the proponents for the pyramid model introduce as one of its biggest selling points 'The Economic Solidarity'. In that narrative, the money is earned from the ‘medal sport’ and passed on to the grassroots sport. There are indeed sports which at the elite level provide a profit that is redistributed - primarily football in certain countries. How many percent of the sports economy it is, and how far down it trickles – it gets lost in the mist. Conversely, there are, in fact, many sports disciplines within the pyramid where the elite level is co-financed by the grassroots members’ fees! This is, of course, completely democratically legal and also a form of economic solidarity. However, this inverse relationship receives very limited attention in the discussion on economic solidarity. And at the end of the day, the reality remains the same: The primary source of finance for grassroots sport comes from citizens’ own payments, and the facilities and finance from the public sector. It does not depend on a pyramid model. 
    The battle for the European Sports Model: Comment by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby
  • Brand new European Parliament report on sport policy: ISCA welcomes priority for participation sport
    Comment by ISCA Secretary General Jacob Schouenborg.  On 17 June, the European Parliament published the long-awaited report “EU sports policy: assessment and possible ways forward”. ISCA has read the report, and takes particular note that the report’s DELPHI study highlights that the participation sport topics are ranked highest among stakeholders – both in the past, the present and the future (p 87ff). It is also encouraging to see that there is a specific recommendation to “promote physical activity” (p 110). ISCA is happy to see that its engagement in grassroots sport diplomacy, and the ISCA co-led initiatives European School Sport Day and European Youth and Sport Forum, are described as important pieces of EU sport policy development. Likewise, in a prioritised list of key stakeholders of EU sport policy, “ISCA was the sole global sports organisation included in the list”. ISCA will continue its advocacy work for grassroots sport and recreational physical activity – for a previous example, see our Inactivity Time Bomb report and campaign. Read the 'EU sports policy: assessment and possible ways forward' report here. Image: Research4CULT Twitter
    Brand new European Parliament report on sport policy: ISCA welcomes priority for participation sport
A stone in the sports shoe
Comment by ISCA, International Dance Organization and Play the Game.  Acknowledging the diversity of the models of European sport is key to combating the decrease in sport participation and in supporting our recovery from the pandemic, including the HealthyLifestyl4All initiative. To recover from the effects of the pandemic on sport and its costly decrease in physical activity among European citizens, and to reach the full potential of the sport sector in Europe, we need to build on inclusive communication and involvement from all stakeholders. Unfortunately, some myths about the term ‘European Model of Sport’ still create a skewed description of the reality, which is exclusive and counterproductive to the goal of engaging all stakeholders in the European sport sector. Persisting misconceptions of the ‘European Model of Sport’ are, so to say, ‘a stone in the sports shoe’ and should be removed to assist freedom of movement! There is a huge aspiration and commitment to realise the full potential of the European sport sector, from the European institutions through European initiatives and policy, which was recently exemplified in the European Parliament draft report on the study ‘EU sports policy: assessment and possible ways forward’. Additionally, Commissioner Gabriel is launching the HealthyLifestyl4All initiative to encourage everyone to utilise the full potential of cross-sector, health-enhancing initiatives. These initiatives and their success rely on inclusion and commitment from all stakeholders in the sport sector. Therefore, we suggest to remove the exclusive and mistaken wordings from the Draft Council Resolution on the European Model of Sport’. Remove the exclusive reference to ‘one federation per sport’.Cherish and support the freedom of association as a fundamental principle, also of sport. Remove the reference to a ‘pyramidal structure encompassing all levels of sport from grassroots to elite sport’.Acknowledge and recognise the ‘diversity of models and approaches across sports and countries’ and that the vast majority of citizens are active outside the pyramid of competitions. Remove the postulation of ‘financial solidarity between top-level sport and grassroots sport’.Consider that grassroots sport is primarily financed by the participants and the public sector, and note that revenue streams often go in the opposite direction – i.e. from the grassroots to the elite. Characteristics of sport in the European Countries Diversity in the organisation of sport.European sport consists of a variety of settings; self-organised, private for profit and not least not for profit voluntary based sport clubs.The not-for-profit sector is diverse. The majority of countries have diverse organisational structures including single sport federations; national organisations are typically oriented towards grassroots and sport participation; theme and target group oriented organisations, such as school sport associations, company sport associations, senior sport associations, etc. Diversity in financing of sportFunding of grassroots sport, health and participation oriented sport comes primarily from participants/citizens themselves.Several countries give significant public support to grassroots sport, health and participation primarily from municipal level. This public support varies from 0 to +100 euros per capita.State level public support varies in size and whether it targets primarily elite or grassroots sport. It often comes from lottery income. Inequality in participation levelHuge differences between citizens’ participation levels across countries. The Eurobarometer on Sport 2018 shows a variation between countries from 68% to 13% of citizens stating they never exercise or play sport. This comment piece has been presented to the European Parliament in response to its ‘Draft report on EU sports policy: assessment on possible ways forward’ and the ‘Draft Council Resolution on the European Model of Sport’ in advance of the CULT Committee meeting held on 31 August 2021. 

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New ISCA website coming soon! Our mascot is working very hard on a brand new ISCA website and we look forward to revealing it to you in 2021. Meanwhile, we will still keep you updated here with the latest news from ISCA and our partners.

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