The European Sport Model can be seen as a pyramid, where the basis is represented by the amateur and grass-roots athletes and teams, while the top by professional athletes and teams. In the European movement, there are only few actors that can represent both these two levels, with their own interests, balances and needs. And these are the Multisport Clubs, sports clubs that have different sports sections – both professional and amateur – under the same colours, symbols and organisation.
Sport’s different dimensions
Sport, for its own structure, has got many different dimensions. Indeed, sport goes much beyond the “simple” (although very important) promotion of physical activity: promoting sport policies means promoting social inclusion and integration, economic aspects, education, etc.. And the cooperation between the European Union and the Sport Organisations is crucial to find the right balance among the different dimensions of sport, in particular those who are referred to different actors.
In recent years 15 top multisport clubs1 who represent, all together, a major segment of the European Sport system (more than 250 Olympic gold medals, 750 European titles and 3,700 national titles) and mobilize on a weekly basis hundreds of thousands of athletes and, very often, millions of supporters created the European Multisport Club Association (www.multisportclubs.eu).
Our Story at the EU Sport Forum
In 2013, in the Vilnius EU Sport Forum Mrs Androulla Vassilou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, congratulated for this important step as «Multisport clubs have a lot to offer both to the world of sport, but also to society at large, by mobilising on daily basis thousands of athletes in a broad range of disciplines and transmitting messages of team-work, perseverance, social inclusion, fair play and respect to European Citizens. Sport is an integral part of our European cultural identity, but it also has so much more to offer to society and actors such as Multisport Clubs can play a key role in conveying this message and maximising its impact».
In 2014, during the Milan EU Sport Forum, EMCA was asked to present the Multisport clubs’ model during a specific session. Moreover, the presentation “The role of Multisport Clubs as model of social capital building” was the main discussion topic in the EU Director General Meeting, held in presence of EMCA representatives.
These recognitions lead the European Multisport Club Association to the 9th March 2016 in The Hague (The Netherlands), when EMCA became officially partner of the second Edition of the European Week of Sport, promoted by the European Commission to support common initiatives related to grass- roots sports. Grass-roots sport is indeed at the centre of the Sport and Support Project, established by 12 EMCA clubs and selected by the European Commission in the framework of Erasmus+ Sport programme in 2014. The clubs participated in the project with the aim of promoting, in each context, social inclusion and awareness of the importance of health- enhancing physical activity.