Study on the contribution of sport to regional development through the structural funds
Final report - Study
People take up sport and physical activity for a variety of reasons, including for the sheer enjoyment of it, to improve fitness and health and to generate a sense of well-being. Promoting sport in order to help people achieve these aims is important in itself, but there are other reasons to promote sport and physical activity beyond the immediate personal benefits. In a modern economy, sport makes a direct contribution to economic activity, it can be used as a vehicle for generating an even wider range of business and social actions and it has huge strengths as a means of motivating a wide... range of individuals and groups. In short, sport and physical activity can have very important economic and social impacts, especially at a local or regional level. It is on the economic and social benefits of sport and physical activity that this study is concentrating. Based on past experience, and especially the experience of projects supported by the Structural Funds – the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EARDF), in particular – the study explores the nature of sport’s economic and social impacts, the variety of sport-based initiatives to be found across the EU and the prospects for more sport-based initiatives, both directly and working closely with other sectors, such as tourism and the cultural and creative industries. The analysis will be complemented with evidence of impacts, including examples of good practice and details of a variety of interventions over the past decade. It is also accompanied by a practical guidance document for sport organisations and others interested in developing sport-based projects under the current European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and into the future. It is important to note, however, that this study is not primarily about how to get more funding for sport, though that may be one of its consequences. It is much more about the role of sport in modern economies and society and how sport and physical activity can be a powerful means of achieving the objectives of EU Cohesion policy.