EOSE Members gathered to debate key issues for the sport sector in EU



EOSE Members gathered to debate key issues for the sport sector in EU

The 17th and 18th of December 2020 saw EOSE members gather for the EOSE General Assembly and Annual Members’ Seminar 2020. For the first time in the history of EOSE, this event was held online and not hosted by one of the members in their country due to the ongoing health situation in Europe.


The EOSE General Assembly on 17th December kicked off with a welcoming message from EOSE President, Professor Thierry Zintz. Thierry underlined the particular context of holding the Assembly in 2020 at the end of a year where the sport and physical activity sector and society as a whole have been severely impacted by Covid-19.

Thierry also thanked the EOSE members for their commitment to the organisation. He then introduced the first part of the General Assembly dedicated to the European Policy Context.

First, Kairis Ulp from the European Commission Sport Unit introduced the new EU Work Plan for Sport 2021-20214 and the new Erasmus+ Programme. Kairis, who is well known to EOSE due to her previous role with the member from Estonia, presented priority topics, key themes, outcomes, working formats, target dates and responsibilities in the new EU Work Plan for Sport. It was interesting to learn about the plan for a conference on skills and qualifications in sport which it is hoped EOSE can play a role in.

Kairis also congratulated EOSE for successful Erasmus+ Sport applications in 2020 and discussed the size and type of projects in that programme. Finally, she presented a sample of Commission publications such as the mapping study related to Covid-19 and high level conferences including one of the recovery of the sport sector after Covid-19 which EOSE were represented at with a speaking role.

Next, Carlos Manuel Pereira from the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth (IDPJ) underline the main sport priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU that will take the lead from 01st of January 2021 for 6 months. The main priorities for the Portuguese Presidency were presented under the themes of Resilience, Social, Green, Digital and Global. Innovation in sport will also be a key focus of the Presidency which was of interest to many EOSE members.

Following on the agenda was the new EOSE Strategic Development Plan 2021 – 2023 which was presented by Ben Gittus, EOSE Director of Standards, and Stephen Studd, Past President of EOSE. Ben and Stephen presented the EOSE vision for the sector and mission of the organisation. They also discussed the potential of the sector in policy areas such as health and social issues. Stephen discussed the changing landscape in which EOSE and the sport sector operates, including the ongoing Covid-19 situation and recovery, climate change, digitalisation and social issues such as Black Lives Matter and challenges to the sector to increase diversity. Ben concluded by presenting the aims of EOSE 2021 – 2023 and a sample of activities from the work programme.

The formal part of the Genral Assembly then took place, with the presentation of EOSE membership situation (members in all but three EU countries) and main activities of 2019 and 2020. The financial report showed EOSE is stable financial with a positive forecast for 2020-2021. The EOSE staff team for 2020 were confirmed with four full time staff.

The final item was Executive Board elections where Kirstie Simpson (University of Chester, UK) was re-elected for a further two-year mandate, and Signe Luika (Latvian Academy of Sport Education, Latvia) was elected for a two year term. Vilma Čingienė was formally thanked for her long term commitment and support for EOSE in particular for her time serving on the EOSE Board which comes to an end this month at the end of her current mandate.

The General Assembly concluded with a Christmas Quiz of questions about EOSE which was won by Henrik Brandt (Denmark), whose prize is a selection of speciality food from Lyon, France where EOSE headquarters is based.

AG 2


The EOSE Members’ Seminar on 18th December 2020 provided an opportunity for a more interactive exchange of views and ideas among EOSE members.

The first session of the day involved a presentation of the sport labour market statistics for 2019 and first semester of 2020, provided to EOSE by Eurostat and analysed by EOSE. The continued collection and analysis of labour market statistics keeps the momentum from the ESSA-Sport project and identifies the total number of people employed in the sector, as well as main characteristics and tendencies.

The data for 2019 shows a stable and growing sector both in terms of numbers and as a proportion of total employment in Europe. EOSE members commented that it is useful to see the clear evidence of a growing and thriving sector just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

EOSE has recently received and been able to analyse sport employment data for the first two quarters of 2020. This allows a first glimpse in to the impact of Covid-19 on sport employment. Across the first two quarters of 2020, total sport employment in EU 28 fell by 3.3% according to official statistics. This decrease was most marked for female sport workers, youth sport workers under 25 and part time sport workers.

EOSE members discussed the data and proposed actions to tackle the situation such as targeted measures for the most affected by the pandemic – e.g. women and the young.

The remainder of the Members’ Seminar then focussed on the main realities and challenges of Covid-19 on sport and employment. Slido software was used to create interaction and feedback from partners throughout the session. Members reported  strong impact of Covid-19 on the sector and on their activities. Members felt there were less sport workers and volunteers during the pandemic but there had been an increase in innovative ways to engage with sport and physical activity participants.

The relevance of different measures to recover from the pandemic were also ranked by members present – with the majority believing there is a need to promote the sport sector, and improve information sharing across stakeholders.

EOSE and its Members could have a specific role to play to review and help reshape the sport sector to ensure it survives and increases its positive impact.

EOSE members felt the interactive session had given a range of ideas for further research. The session ended with suggestions about how EOSE can be involved in the recovery phase of Covid-19 in the sport sector.

While all members would have preferred the event to have been face-to-face, it was seen by all as a great success and good forum to be informed and to debate key issues.

In 2021, EOSE is delighted to announce that the General Assembly and Members’ Seminar will be arranged in Bucharest, Romania, as guests of EOSE member National Institute for Sport Research (NISR).

EOSE President, Thierry Zintz, closed the event and wished all EOSE members a Merry Christmas and a healthy and successful 2021.

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