The consortium led by CSES and Blomeyer & Sanz that is working on the study on sport’s contribution to structural funds’ priorities, commissioned by DG EAC of the European Commission, organised a workshop on 8 March 2016 in The Hague. This was deemed as an occasion to discuss preliminary findings of the study, take first conclusions for sport organisations and policymakers and look forward to future activities.
First project director Mike Coyne presented first findings. He pointed out that there was a large amount of evidence that sport and physical activity contributed to the priorities of the structural funds, with particular effectiveness in some areas. He described the range of projects and amount financing is large and pointed to national differences in which funds were primarily used in sport. He also presented a detailed typology of interventions.
Subsequently, representatives from the Portuguese region of Anadia, the Winter Sports Research Centre in Sweden and of a Dutch-German INTERREG project on fitness in the job place presented their projects and the way that they used structural funds.
In a final panel discussion the main findings as well as an outlook to how to use the study in the future were discussed. Felix Schäfer represented the EOC EU Office and emphasised that the different treatment of sport related applications in EU member states posed a problem and should be tackled by clear communication to managing authorities. He also recommended actions on both sides, i.e. advice on the application for and use of funding, but also an increased effort by the European Commission to inform and communicate the benefits of sport projects to managing authorities. Additionally, in the next funding period, sport should be explicitly included in the regulations for Structural and Investment Funds.
The next steps of the study are the finalisation of the report until the beginning of April and the structure for the Sport Action Network that is intended to connect interested parties and strengthen sport’s case in the structural funds.