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Why the European Sports Charter needs to look broader than the Pyramid model of sport

Comment and video by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby.


If we used the Pyramid model to describe European sport today, we would only include a very small number of existing activities and a very small part of the sector. But Europe is much more diverse than that. The Council of Europe is currently revising its European Sports Charter and I’m looking forward to seeing a new Charter that underlines the diversity of European sport.


ISCA is one of 20 organisations on the Council of Europe’s Consultative Committee. ISCA was the second organisation to join this collaboration, more than 20 years ago, and we give input to the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) in accordance with our values related to sport and physical activity. These values are actually very much in line with the basic foundation of the Council of Europe’s sport collaboration – the European Sport Charter.


This European Sport Charter is up for revision in 2021. Most countries and organisations agree on the basics, but there are also some disagreements – in particular, relating to the claim that the so-called Pyramid Model of sport (where the grassroots level of sport feeds talent up to the narrow tip of elite sport run by national federations) is the model of sport in Europe.


Our clear opinion, along with many member states’, is that there is no one fixed model for sport in Europe – there are many models and great organisational diversity due to our histories and cultural differences. That’s actually very good because this diversity assists us in achieving better reach – in other words, we can get more people active for their health and wellbeing, not just for the purpose of performing and competing.


How can we look at sport from a different perspective in the new Charter? Find out in my video statement on the current process of revising the European Sports Charter (above).


Related story: ISCA Secretary General calls for collective action at Council of Europe Sport Ministerial Conference