Swedish elite sport at a crossroads? : some results from a study of government support for elite sport

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Swedish elite sport at a crossroads? : some results from a study of government support for elite sport

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Publication Other
Title Swedish elite sport at a crossroads? : some results from a study of government support for elite sport
Author(s) Norberg, Johan R
Date 2013
Editor(s) Balagué, Natalia; Torrents, C.; Vilanova, A.; Cadefau, J.; Tarragó, R.; Tsolakidis, Elias
English abstract
Introduction In 2011, the Swedish government commissioned The Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports (CIF) to examine the structure and impact of government support for elite sport. A study was conducted in collaboration with several research groups under the guidance of Johan R Norberg, researcher at CIF. The result was reported back to the government in May 2012. Methods CIF:s survey begins with a comprehensive analysis of the Swedish elite sport system, based on quantitative data relating to sports federations’ economy, scope and results at international championships. Thereafter follows a qualitative study concerning the current state of Swedish elite sport, based on interviews with athletes, coaches and sports managers in eight strategically selected sports. Thus, the report also includes a review of international tendencies in elite sport support, a survey of programs for coaching development in Swedish sports and an analysis of sports policy implications of the Swedish government’s increased support for elite sport Theoretically, the survey takes its starting point in current research on increased competition in international elite sport (De Bosscher et al 2008, Houlihan & Green 2008). Results The study shows that Swedish elite sport has always had a relatively marginal position – at least on a political level (Bergsgard & Norberg 2010). Government support for sport has mainly come in the shape of subsidies to sports facilities, grants to youth sport activities and economic support to the administration of the national sporting federations, while targeted investments in elite sports been few. Furthermore, such investments have had an ambivalent position, viewed as somewhat inappropriate in a social democratic welfare regime based on ideals of breadth and equality rather than elitism and ranking. Thus, the Swedish sports model differs from many comparable countries with a strong focus on “sports for all” rather than elite sport. This is reflected in the organization and conditions of Swedish elite sports. One one hand, local clubs and publicly financed facilities have created good opportunities for young people to try out different sports and develop their skills. One the other hand, there have been few public subsidies to help athletes to take the final step from promising talent to the international elite. Discussion In recent years, the Swedish government has taken steps to strengthen the international competitiveness of Swedish sport. This raises the question whether Sweden is about to join ”the Global Sporting Arms Race” or if the Swedish government’s support for sports will continue to focus mainly on sports-for-all, voluntarism and youth sports.
Publisher National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia
Host/Issue 18th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science : 26th-29th June 2013, Barcelona : book of abstracts;
ISBN 978-84-695-7786-8
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) sport
sport policy
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note 18th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Barcelona, Spain, 26-29 June, 2013
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/16320 (link to this page)
Link http://www.ecss-congress.eu/2013/13/ (external link to related web page)

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