The impact of COVID-19 on the sport sector in Sweden
In Sweden, sport clubs have experienced both: the closures and the reopening allowed only under strict restrictions. Organised sport activities decreased tremendously in 2020. The government allocated 150 million Euros to the sport sector to prevent the financial ruin of sport clubs and sport associations.
We talked to Swedish Sports Confederation, member of ENGSO and partner organisation in the project CHAMP, to learn more about the impact of the pandemic on the sport sector in Sweden.
How is Covid-19 affecting sport clubs and the grassroots sport sector in Sweden?
It has varied a lot from March 2020 until January 2021. There were times when almost all sports have been closed. Then, the regulations changed, and a large part of the sport clubs were able to carry out their activities again. However, there have been strong restrictions for big events, such as large youth cups and events like marathons. No audience or very limited crowds (of people) were allowed.
What is the response from the government; are sport clubs and grassroots sport getting support?
The sports movement has received special support to compensate for the financial consequences (of COVID-19). A total of 150 million Euros in 2020. In addition, other governmental support was allocated to sports associations and clubs that they have been able to benefit from. Such as temporary discharge of employees and reductions in rents for the sport facilities.
COVID-19 and community sport; do you think this is a crisis or an opportunity?
It is a crisis as there are strong restrictions on how we can do sports. We had large losses in the number of activities during 2020.
What do you think is the main challenge of the grassroots and community sport sector today, and why?
Due to the corona, the following points are important:
To change/adapt the sport activity so that training can be carried out in the best possible way despite restrictions.
To provide support to associations and sport clubs to survive the crisis.
To get older teenagers back to sport so they can start training as usual.
To get children and young people from socio-economically weaker groups to continue and find their way to sports.
Swedish Sports Confederation is one of the partners in the Erasmus+ funded project CHAMP which tackles the innovation and modernization of the traditional sports movement. The final product of the project will be a free, online course “How to manage a modern sport club”.
About the Swedish Sports Confederation
The Swedish Sports Confederation, RF, is an umbrella organisation for organised sport in Sweden. RF has 72 member federations representing 19 000 sport clubs and more then 3 million members. High priority is given to the development of a united sports movement focusing especially on grassroot sports, public health and the role of sport in society. RF is also representing the Swedish sports movement in contacts with the authorities.