The European Commission has published a report on innovative practices in the EU to promote sport outside of traditional structures. This study maps innovative initiatives developed to promote sport and physical activity in each of the 27 EU Member States. The mapping puts forward a collection of good practices in each member state.
At the origin of this report is the current trend of ‘deinstitutionalization’ in physical activity, meaning that individuals tend to exercise outside of established structures such as sports clubs. This is because there are now more opportunities to practice in less formal and more flexible settings, as well as people becoming increasingly motivated by health and their well-being.
Innovative practices to promote sport and physical activity already exist at EU, national, and local levels. They often take place outside of the acknowledged sport structures and are more often linked to personal environments (e.g. indoors and outdoors, at home or work, during leisure time). However, established sport structures, federations and clubs are also trying to innovate in order to continue to attract people to the practice of sport.
The conclusion of the research is that “innovative sport practices emerge when a novelty element is implemented within a well-defined strategy to overcome barriers to sport practices and creates value beyond the benefits of being physically active”. Their recommendations are that it is important to properly analyse the needs and barriers, to develop partnerships, and that new technologies may play a useful role in these developments.