Emerging FORMS of employment in Sport



Emerging FORMS of employment in Sport

February 8th, 2022, saw the third full partner meeting of FORMS, another ground-breaking project led by the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) and engaging partners in five EU member states.

Purpose of FORMS


Building on the work of Eurofound (2013-2020), FORMS is researching new and non-traditional forms of employment, such as employee sharing, job sharing, platform work, interim management and micro-entrepreneurship. As Eurofound discovered, in recent years, new developments like these have taken off in other sectors such as IT, retail and hospitality. FORMS is looking at how far they have penetrated into the sport sector and what the advantages and disadvantages might be for employers and employees. The project also hopes to identify examples of good practice which maximise the flexibility offered by new forms of employment whilst minimising the potential drawbacks.

The project was planned before the Covid pandemic, and it will also be fascinating to see what impact Covid may have had on accelerating the adoption of new employment forms.

Current Research and Findings

The purpose of February’s meeting was to review a composite desk research report, prepared by EOSE, which combined investigations which the partners carried out in 2021. This included examining the employment laws, regulations and collective agreements in their countries, looking at new forms of employment in other sectors and the extent to which new forms of employment were beginning to emerge in sport, their potential benefits and disadvantages and the implications for skills development.

The main conclusions of the report were:

  • Most of the new forms of employment identified by Eurofound are prevalent across the partner countries and Europe in many sectors
  • Partners can see the benefits of some new forms of employment to the sport sector
  • Some new forms are already being used in the sport sector and there is the potential for the uptake of others
  • General employment legislation, as originally drafted, presents a number of barriers but most governments have responded flexibly by introducing amendments, derogations, new regulations etc.
  • Sectors, including sport, have been quite influential in lobbying for change which suggests further obstacles could be removed
  •  New forms of employment are underpinned by a number of economic and social changes (including the impact of Covid and need for Covid recovery which have accelerated uptake)
  • New forms of employment have a variety of advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees which need to be carefully evaluated to determine good practices which continue to protect the rights of employers and employees within the spirit of general employment law
  • There are a number of skills implications for workers, including digital skills, transversal skills (e.g., self-management / independent working, marketing), entrepreneurial skills and new approaches to management and administration for employers.

The partners endorsed the key findings and the proposed structure of the report on this phase of work and discussed how the report could be enhanced by the outcomes of national consultations.

National Roundtables – Sharing the Findings, Identifying Good Practices

The partners then turned their attention to planning consultation meetings in each of the partner countries. The purpose of these consultations is to share the findings with key stakeholders, explore the potential of new forms of employment in sport, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and discover examples of good practice.

These national roundtables will take place during April and May 2022 in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Portugal. Discussions will take place in the local language. Consultation in Luxembourg will be confirmed later.

The partners agreed that these roundtables should take place in person with about 15-20 participants. The main target groups should be, for example, representatives of relevant government ministries, employer organisations, trade unions (or other employee representatives), national Olympic committees, national sport federations, sport clubs, possibly recruitment agencies and, where appropriate, representatives from other sectors where new forms of employment have already taken off.

EOSE presented a sample agenda which partners are free to customise and agreed to develop a model PowerPoint presentation which partners can also translate and adapt to local circumstances.

Next Steps

Following the national consultations, the FORMS partners will meet again, for the first time in person!

We hope the next full partner meeting will take place in early June and be hosted by the International University of Health, Exercise and Sports (LUNEX) in Luxembourg. This fourth meeting will consider the outcomes of the five national consultations, identify clear and relevant recommendations for the sector and begin the process of developing a Compendium of Good Practices which stakeholders in the sector can use to inform their own practices in adopting new forms of employment.


Geoff Carroll, Director of Skills Development for EOSE said,  “This has been a fantastic learning journey for all of us. When FORMS started, I think we all had different ideas about what was meant by new forms of employment and divergent views about how relevant they are to the sport sector. The research carried out by the partners and the fascinating discussions in our meetings have really helped to clarify our thinking and get a better idea about what the future holds. This has been a great partnership to work with. If we can communicate what we have learned clearly and effectively to the European sport sector, I am sure we will create the basis for more flexible working arrangements which will benefit organisations, employees and of course, participants, members and customers.”



Funded by the Erasmus+ Sport programme, FORMS brings together a unique combination of three employer organisations, a sport club, two universities and one European umbrella organisation across five EU countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Portugal). FORMS is a two-year collaboration due to complete in December 2022.

Earlier EOSE research through ESSA-Sport (www.essa-sport.eu) revealed that the EU sport labour market is growing and evolving and that new forms of employment are emerging in response to changing political, economic, social and technological trends. The traditional full-time, open-ended contract with one single employer now seems to be in decline. New, diverse employment relationships are appearing – for example employee/employer sharing, entrepreneurship, job sharing, agency work, IT-based mobile work and platform work – which are not fully captured in official statistics and therefore need qualitative exploration. While the full impact of COVID is not yet clear, there is a strong feeling that the pandemic will accelerate their adoption, and sport organisations will need information and guidance not just on employment, but also on the implications for initial education and lifelong learning.

These emerging forms of employment can have a different legal basis and meaning between countries. What is new in one country might be already be widespread and legally established in another. There is much, therefore, to be gained through interaction and knowledge sharing.

FORMS partners will compile available employment statistics, research these new forms of employment in sport and related sectors, analyse their advantages and disadvantages from a range of perspectives, consult with employers and other relevant stakeholders – through five national workshops. The principal output will be a Compendium of Good Practices including a series of recommendations on how sport organisations can manage new employment relationships to the mutual benefit of employers, staff and customers/participants.


Full list of partners:

> European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) – France and EU

Fédération Nationale Profession Sport et Loisirs (FNPSL) – France

Sportwerk Vlaanderen – Belgium

Kortrijk Spurs – Belgium

> International University of Health, Exercise and Sports (LUNEX) – Luxembourg

> Werkgevers in de Sport (WOS) – Netherlands

> Polytechnic Institute of Santarem/Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (IPSantarem-ESDRM) – Portugal


Web page: www.forms-sport.eu

Contact: Geoff Carroll – EOSE Director of Skills Development – geoff.carroll@eose.org

EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

A new wave for the sport and active leisure sector

Ensuring the right skills in the right place

Retour en haut

Back to
the top