Get to know our new Erasmus+ project, CHAMP

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

How can knowledge and understanding about modernisation and innovative practices within and outside of the traditional sports movement attract Europeans to become more physically active? These questions will be raised through ENGSO’s new Erasmus+ financed project, CHAMP (Clubs for Health-enhancement, Activation, Modernisation and Participation). Its successful kick-off meeting was held at the office of the Swedish Sports Confederation in Stockholm on 6-7th of March.

The topic that CHAMP addresses is encouraging participation in sport and physical activity, especially by supporting the implementation of the Council Recommendation on health-enhancing physical activity and is in line with the EU Physical Activity Guidelines. The main aim of CHAMP is to give the sport movement innovative tools and education for modernisation, offering fresh insights of current trends and solutions for promotion of physical activity.

Europeans are becoming less and less physically active, as leisure patterns change, and media – including social media – consumption are increasing drastically. Even if Europeans are being active, they tend to use more and more services of the non-organised sport and physical activity sector (i.e. fitness and wellness centres), and less and less of the offers of the organised sport sector (federations, associations and traditional sport clubs). We believe that traditional sport clubs are still the backbones of a well-functioning sport sector for various reasons. The traditional sport club system is also part of the civil society movement, in which participation has a clear democratic aspect and therefore holds pan-European values.

The objectives of the project are:

- To carry out an evidence-based research on the benefits of modernisation of the sport movement.

- To do research and identify innovative practices to increase physical activity and sport participation inside and outside of sport.

- To produce and disseminate educational content on these innovative practices to modernise the sports movement and to make the educational materials available for the public, free of charge in a Massive Open Online Course.

The project includes nine partners (including ENGSO), which will work to identify ways to modernise the organised sport movement through innovations. Our partners in the project are:

- The International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education

- Swedish Sports Confederation

- Lithuanian Union of Sport Federations

- Estonian Foundation of Sport Education and Information

- OPES - Organizzazione Per l’Educazione allo Sport

- NOC & Sports Confederation of Denmark

- Latvian Sports Federations Council

- Portuguese Sports Confederation

As seven out of nine partners work directly with sport federations and clubs, the project aims to increase the physical activity levels of Europeans through increasing membership in traditional sport clubs. Working with (and within) the organised sport movement, the project partners do see that the movement needs modernisation. We do see some inflexibilities in their functioning, challenges in their financial management. Their decision-making bodies often lack gender balance and diversity in age, ethnicity and social background. Having the greatest experience in the sport sector, the organised sport movement is often expected in European policy-making circles to “cure itself”, but we believe that it needs an extra push, new and innovative ideas outside of traditional sport, even outside of sport as such to develop and better meet the expectations of European citizens in the future. Modernisation, the implementation of fresh ideas has already started in other sectors, and traditional sport clubs can learn from them.

As the partners believe that if traditional sport clubs could renew their offers, open their doors to those citizens who seek non-competitive activities, they would attract the interest of more people. Clearly, not all people would become sport club members, but the renewed offers of sport clubs could open more people’s hearts towards physical activity. On the other hand, the more people are getting attracted by sport clubs, the more people are getting hooked by them and potentially becoming members.

The first day of the project kick-off meeting was dedicated to create a mutual understanding about the project, for the partners to get to know each other and to build a strong platform for the two-and-a-half-year long partnership within the project. Stefan Bergh, Secretary General of the Swedish Sports Confederation and ENGSO greeted the project team and shared his views on the importance of the topics that CHAMP addresses:

“Using modern and innovative solutions to position the traditional sports movement as relevant and accessible for all is imperative for the future of European sports. Through increased and accessible knowledge on the topic of modernisation and innovation in sport, the CHAMP project can support ENGSO's members to work with modern and innovative practices within their structures.”

Day one continued with workshops on the topics of modernisation and innovation in sport and health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) followed by a risk-analysis of the project. The second day commenced with a group discussion on important definitions connected to the research process and a planning session for the first year of the project. This session led to important discussions and decisions about which actions and activities will secure successful implementation of the project. Throughout the first year of the project, knowledge and information on the modernisation of the traditional sports movement as well as innovations inside and outside of sports will be collected, analysed and summarised. A research report, handbooks on best practices and videos - which disseminate the findings - will be produced. A busy schedule needs detailed planning and proactive partners on board, and the results of the planning session during the kick-off meeting will secure this. A session about communication and dissemination concluded an utmost productive and successful project kick-off meeting.

“The meeting was truly successful, important topics and questions were raised. The partners showed sincere engagement and they all bring a lot of knowledge and experience into the project. We make a great team and I am thrilled that we got so much done already at the first meeting, this will be a great partnership”, says Lovisa Broms, CHAMP project manager.

The next project meeting will be held in June at the ENGSO office in Brussels. At this meeting the Steering Committee will discuss the progress of the research on modernisation and sports and decide which important findings will be used as a knowledge base for further research on innovations inside and outside of the traditional sports movement. Till then all partners will be busy, collecting and summarising important international and national research on modernisation and sport.

For updates on the project, follow its Facebook page and Twitter account.