The European Commission received a report of its high level group stating that although the enormous benefits of grassroots sport, defined as regular physical activities for social and health reasons are well known, no large scale and sustainable concept has been developed. The report called out for further research into sustainability.
The need for a large scale and sustainable concept for grassroots sports has been further stressed by political leaders and research reports.
There seems to be no true agency for grassroots sports in order to promote physical activity for health and social reasons and to coordinate between the different sectors involved. Efforts are wide spread and uncoordinated and do not reach a sufficient part of the population in order to make an impact on the large scale. The project and uncoordinated nature of almost all the efforts made so far and the lack of definition, do not support the development of sustainable structures and networks.
We can identify 3 main groups in the population, those who are physically exercising on a regular basis already, those who would like to exercise but get de-motivated by obstacles like costs, lack of possibilities, bullying and racism in sports and poor service quality in sports and those who are not interested, or even reject physical activities, the latest group being the most important in order to achieve an impact on the public economy. Full awareness of the topic seems to be lacking on most parts. The project nature of almost all the efforts made so far, does rather de-motivate than motivate in the long run.
Both survey and interviews have shown a significant lack of facilities and the complexity of the challenge demands for expertise from different sectors. The project nature of almost all the efforts so far does not support sustainability of expertise. Costs are a major factor as well.
An agency and/or a high level round table for the promotion of physical activity for social and health reasons should be established apart from the competitive sports structures, in order to be able to focus on this important topic and to coordinate between the different sectors involved. The agency should also define and brand sports for health and social reasons.
Project funding should be continued in order to initiate efforts, but in order to achieve sustainability organizations focused on grassroots sports should receive regular funding. Also private enterprise should be encouraged to engage.
Demotivating factors, as identified in this research should be erased and efforts for motivating the most needy groups should be financed. Facilities need to be provided on a sufficient level and expertise should be maintained and developed.
Social media, electronic tools and apps should be made use of in order to promote physical activity for social and health reasons.
Diversity training and other sensitizing training should be provided and attended on every level in the structures. Minorities should be empowered and their participation should be secured on all levels.