The 13th and 14th of December 2022 saw EOSE members gather for the EOSE General Assembly and Annual Members’ Seminar 2022. For the first time since 2019 the event was organised face-to-face in Romania and gathered 35 participants from 21 different countries.


On 13th December 2022, the EOSE General Assembly was organised in Bucharest (Romania) and gathered 34 members from 21 different countries. After 2 years of pandemic, the annual event was arranged face-to-face and was hosted by the Romanian National Institute for Sport Research (NISR).

The General Assembly was delighted to welcome representatives from three new member organisations, the French National Sport and Leisure Profession Federation (FNPSL), the Spanish Consejo General de la Educación Fisica y Deportiva (COLEF) and the Albanian Sports University of Tirana.

The occasion also celebrated the contributions of long-term member representative, Jean-Louis Gouju, who is now retiring from the Analysis Institute on Education and Employment in Sport (GAREF) in Paris.

Opening Remarks

The General Assembly began with a welcome from EOSE’s President, Kirstie Simpson, who presented the main objectives of the day to update members on the main activities carried out over 2022 and she also celebrated the Observatoire’s 20 years of existence.

The host of the event, the Romanian National Institute for Sport Research (NISR), provided information about the history of Romania and some further information about the main activities of NISR.

European Policy Context

Kairis Ulp, Head of the Register from the Estonian Foundation of Sports Education & Information and who until recently was seconded to the European Commission’s Sport Unit, gave a presentation on the current EU Policy Context providing insights into the EU Work Plan for Sport 2021-2024, the European Commission Expert Groups in Sport, the Erasmus+ Programme, and the Special Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity 2022.


Aurélien Favre, Executive Director, then took members through the main business of the General Assembly. Following the approval of the minutes of the 2022 Assembly, Aurélien provided an update on the current membership situation highlighting continued growth and extension. With Czech Republic having now joined the network, only Austria and Slovakia remained with not official members but good contacts have been established with potential members in these countries. The target is now to get a full coverage of all EU nations by the end of 2023 and to explore potential extension with new members from outside the European Unions (focus on Western Balkans and other countries from Europe).

Members were asked to provide support to find good entry points of contact in those targeted countries and EOSE will liaise with those members which showed some interest.

Activity Report

Aurélien and Geoff Carrol from EOSE then took the Assembly through a comprehensive activity report for 2022, selecting examples of how EOSE is contributing to EU policy objectives through researching and analysing the EU sport sector labour force, the role of volunteering, and new forms of employment in the sector. He also touched on the successful conclusion of the CHANGE project which produced occupational standards and training resources for the area of sport for development, and the delivery of three one-week training modules to young sport administrators in the Western Balkans. A highlight of the year was the first ever European Skills Survey on Sport Volunteering which was conducted by EOSE in spring 2022 and gathered over 2,700 responses from sport organisations from 115 different countries all over the world.

The activity report concluded with a brief presentation of 2 new successful applications coordinated by EOSE.

The first one is an ambitious EU-funded project entitled GLDF4CLEANSPORT in collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) having the main goal of enhancing the skills and competencies of the paid and volunteer anti-doping workforce in Europe and globally (www.gldf4cleansport.eu).

The second initiative is a transnational project to be launched in January 2023 which has been selected for funding in the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Call for Proposals Capacity Building in the field of Sport 2022. This new 2-year project will continue EOSE’s relationship with key partners in the sport sector in the Western Balkans region and will build on previous successful projects to deliver high quality and fit for purpose sport administration training programmes.

The floor was then given to three EOSE members who made the focus on a national case study / good practice from the sport sector.


The official business continued with a detailed report from Aurélien and Abel Santos, EOSE Treasurer, which confirmed a healthy financial situation.

Executive Board Elections

The General Assembly concluded with Executive Board Elections. Having considered the preceding nomination process, members validated the reappointment of two Board members, Kirstie Simpson (UK), and Signe Luika (Latvia) whose mandates were coming to an end.

Member Interactions

Throughout each agenda item, member interactions were reinforced by stimulating questions and comments. All-in-all, members voiced their appreciation for the strategic leadership of the Board and the efforts of the staff and expressed satisfaction with their achievements in 2021/2022 and planning for the future.



The EOSE Members’ Seminar was organised on 14th of December 2021 reviewing and debating the main findings from two major projects focusing on the paid and voluntary workforces.

Following an introduction of the overall European context for the Sport Workforce delivered by EOSE President Kirstie Simpson, members received a presentation from Aurélien Favre and Simone Digannaro (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio) on the realities, tendencies and characteristics of the European paid sport workforce based on an analysis of Eurostat’s statistics for the period 2011-2020 which also included the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Working in small discussion groups, members identified and discussed what they felt were the most significant findings. They were also invited to consider potential future scenarios for the sport sector and debated what they felt would be the most important interventions EOSE and its members could make to continue the drive to professionalise the sector, modernise the training offer and improve the competences and skills of its people.

One key recommendation was that EOSE should explore the possibility to apply for a new source of EU funding to repeat its European Employer Skills Survey for the sport sector, first carried out in 2018 as part of the ESSA-Sport project. Indeed, EOSE members unanimously agreed the need to consult sport organisations to better understand the realities and challenges they are facing, and also to focus on their expectations in terms of skills for the workforce. This was judged particularly important to be implemented following such a sudden pandemic.

Members then turned their attention to the other key human resource in the sport sector: the millions of volunteers who tirelessly and freely give their time to grassroots clubs and major events to sustain sport participation and engagement across the EU and beyond.

A stimulating ‘warm-up’ for this topic was a case study provided by Diana Pirciu, Head of Education at the Romanian Football Federation. Diana explained how the Federation, starting from a very low baseline of sport volunteering in Romania, managed to raise 1 000 volunteers to support the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship in Bucharest (postponed until 2021, due to Covid). As well as describing the processes the Federation followed, Diana also highlighted the lessons learned and a number of good practice ‘tips’ relevant to volunteer recruitment, training and management for major events.

Aurélien Favre then provided an overview of a major survey of sport organisations on sport volunteering carried out as part of EOSE’s Erasmus+ Sport V4V project which set out to reveal more about the realities, characteristics and tendencies of sport volunteering. The survey gathered 2 723 responses from organisations covering all the EU 27 nations, the UK, other European countries and a small number based in Africa, Asia and South America.

This was followed by a presentation by Geoff Carroll, EOSE’s Director of Skills Development, which covered all the main preliminary conclusions and recommendations from the V4V research. Geoff summarised the emerging conclusions and a series of potential recommendations on how the recruitment, training, management and retention of sport volunteers could be improved in the future to the benefit of sport organisations, volunteers themselves and society as a whole.

Following a wrap up session, EOSE President closed the event and wished all EOSE members a Merry Christmas and a healthy and successful 2023.

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

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