June 2020

On June 15 and 16 the regular project meeting of the project “More than gold” was organized. It was initially planned to be held in Coimbra, Portugal, but due to the current Pandemic situation and travel restrictions, it was decided to organize the meeting virtually.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the process of finalizing both intellectual results, including ideas for guidelines design and other necessary improvements.

During the meeting, the results of the university survey were presented – the opinion of the university representatives on the possibility to adapt the guidelines in their organization. The results of a survey on feedbacks from COVID were also presented – how the Pandemic has affected the daily life of athletes’ dual sports careers – training and studying processes.

The main aim of the project “More than gold” is to create dual career guidelines for higher education institutions (HEI) and strengthen dual career policies in all EU countries, especially in the countries, where dual career policy is at an early stage.

“More than gold” is going to collect the best practices about different activities for students – athletes, which can help youngest students (for instance career centre services, psychologist services, mentoring program for young students etc.) to start studies.

On June 19, 2020, EAS was invited as an observer to the 6th meeting of the European Commission Expert Group “Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport”. Due to the COVIS-19 restrictions, the 6thmeeting of the 26 XG HR Members nominated by their respective Member State and the 10 invited observers from invited pan-European sports organisations and networks was held in a virtual room coordinated by Nais Rigolett of the EC Sport Unit. The meeting consisted of three sessions.

IN THE FIRST SESSION, Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the EC Sport Unit, provided a thorough update from the Commission, starting from the development of the ERASMUS+Sport calls for proposals, which are now summarized in the informative brochure on 107 funded pilot projects and preparatory actions in the field of sport for the 2016-2019 periodTo note, out of the 37 ongoing projects, EAS is actively involved in:

  • AMID (590400-EPP-1-2017-1-AT-SPO-SCP; 2018-2020) for the provision of evidence- and eminence-base guidelines on student-athletes who relocate/migrate to pursue their academic and/or sport careers (www.amid-project.eu); 
  • EMPATIA (590437-EPP-1-2017-1-SI-SPO-SCP; 2018-2020) for the development of an online educational programme for parents of dual career athletes (www.empatiasport.eu); 
  • DONA (2018-3716/001-001; 2019-2021), for the investigation, development and testing of a dual career club-based methodology to empower women’s volleyball players;
  • Ed-Media (2018-2078/001-001; 2019-2020) for a proactive shaping of a positive image of athletes as students;
  • More Than Gold (603346-EPP-1-2018-1-LV-SPO-SCP; 2019-2020) for developing dual career guidelines for higher education institutes; 
  • SOS (603266-EPP-1-2018-1-IT-SPO-SCP; 2019-2020) for structuring an innovative teaching module for physical activity teachers; and 
  • Starting11 (60313-EPP-1-2018-1-NL-SPO-SCP; 2019-2021) for the creation of the very first European Dual Career Toolkit for service providers (www.starting11.eu).

In 2020, €70,8 million have been allotted for new projects and 1145 proposals have been submitted (18% Collaborative Partnerships focusing on “Education in and through sport”, including dual career). Results are expected in October 2020.

The Commission launched further calls for Preparatory Actions in the Field of Sport, and the #BeInclusive EU Sport Awards, with nomination open till June 30, 2020, and the three winners to be announced in November 2020 at a special awards ceremony in Brussels.

During the German Presidency, the next EU Work Plan for Sport will be negotiated and its adoption is expected in December 2020.

Finally, the Commission’s responses to Covid-19 crisis were presented, encompassing flexibility offered to the on-going projects, dedicated meeting on the future of the sport to be held in the second half of 2020, and a Study on the impact of the COVID-19 on sports sector to be published next September 2020.

THE SECOND SESSION focused on the achievements of the Expert Group and the way forward. Agata Dziarnowska, Policy Officer EC Sport Unit, summarized the activities of the XG HR, which were particularly focused on coach education, sports qualifications, and dual careers. The XG HR followed a working method mainly based on exchanges of best practices, active discussion on relevant aspects to be addressed, practical visits to get acquainted with the different national realities, and the finalization of the Guidelines Regarding the Minimum Requirements in Skills and Competencies for Coaches.

The effective cooperation and networking determined in the XG HR Members a solid feeling of having focused on the main sport priorities, of having improved the cooperation and coordination between the Member States and sports organizations, and of having introduced appropriate structures and working methods. Thus, resulting in a solid feeling of being part of a European Team in Sport emerged. Hopefully, the next EU Work Plan for Sport will consider the continuation of the Expert Groups and strengthen the European commitment in education in and through sport.

Martina Jeričević, Chair of Working Party on Sport, illustrated the activities of the Croatian Presidency in the field of sport despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the Croatian programme not only focused on the empowerment of coaches through the acquisition of skills and competences, but also on the impact of the pandemic crisis and the recovery of the sports sector. Furthermore, on June 25, the Croatian Presidency will host the Directors General for Sport video meeting, during which a new framework for further cooperation in EU sport and the role and influence of media in the sport will be discussed.

Guy Taylor, National Director of the UK Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), offered his expert’s contribution and his critical view of the past experiences and future directions of the XG HR. Thus, the general discussion highlighted a widespread appreciation for the tremendous work accomplished by the EC Sport Office and provided advice and expertise to the Commission in relation to the preparation of policy initiatives and the upcoming EU Work Plan for Sport.

Following the closing remarks of the meeting, a virtual drink was organized to wish a bright future to the European sport. A special thank for her valuable contribution to the European sport was given to Agata Dziarnowska, who is leaving the Sport Unit at the end of the month to a new position at the Commission. Indeed, Agata Dziarnowska represented a solid pillar of the Sport Unit and a tireless supporter of a European sports culture based on education in and through sport, and always an outstanding speaker at the EAS Annual Conferences.

On June 8-10, 2020 the Centres de Ressources, d’Expertise et de Performance Sportives – CREPS Toulouse hosted the Partners of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (coordinator), ADH, EAS, Sportlycée Luxembourg, TASS, and TW1N for the virtual meeting of the Starting11 project (60313-EPP-1-2018-1-NL-SPO-SCP). 

To stimulate national, regional and local dual career delivery in the EU, Starting 11 aims to create the very first European Dual Career Toolkit for service providers. 

During the three days, the Partners engaged in the refinement of tools in 4 areas of dual career service: 

“Management”, which focuses on promoting the political, theoretical and infrastructural know-how to implement and administrate dual career services; 

“Framework”, which targets programmes at a school and higher education level to contribute to conditions in which dual careers can successfully be realized; 

“Dual career counselling”, which aims at inter-personal counselling services to foster the coping, decision-making and planning ability of an athlete within times of fundamental change and transition; and 

“Communication”, which caters to the identification of efficient communication towards the most relevant dual career stakeholders. 

The meeting ended with a virtual tour of Toulouse!

More information on Starting 11 is available at www.starting11.eu

On Friday, June 5th, 2020, the weekly virtual coffee meeting of the UNISPORT Italia presented a the gender-specific approach to dual career “E-learning and training: The recipe for female youth athletes of the future”.

President Paolo Bouquet introduced the speakers Raffaella Masciadri (President of the Athletes’ Committee of the Italian Olympic Committee), Alessandra Ortenzi (Sport Web Journalist, Digital PR and Sport Strategist) and Federica Stradi (Scuola di Pallavolo Anderlini, Partner of the DONA project), who presented their unique and innovative efforts to address several essential development stages and major dual career transitions of female athletes.

The 42 participants were informed on the development of an e-learning education programme tailored for female athletes as well as the aims and progression of the DONA project focused on the holistic development of youth female volleyball players. During the general discussion, the opportunity to connect with other related projects to enhance the effective development of a dual career in Italy was envisaged. In particular, the expected outcomes of the Starting 11 (the European toolkit for dual career service providers) and the EMPATIA (the online educational programme for parents of dual career athletes) projects were particularly appreciated.

As a Member of EAS, the proactive dual career attitude of UNISPORT-Italia represents a valuable good practice to advance the European sports culture.

On June 5, 2020, Laura Capranica presented »The role of parents in the sports careers of young athletes« at the 4th International Scientific Virtual  Conference in Physical Education, Sports and Health organized by the Faculty of Physical Education, Sport and Health of the University St. Cyril and Methodius – Skopje, North Macedonia. 

Starting from European dual career issues, the findings of the EU-funded Collaborative Partnership EMPATIA (0437-EPP-1-2017-1-SI-SPO-SCP) in relation to the evidence- (e.g., the findings of the systematic literature review on parenting dual career athletes) and eminence-base (e.g., the outcomes of the focus groups and concept mapping researches involving parents of talented and elite athletes) knowledge were summarized. 

At present, two EMPATIA scientific contributions are under review at peer-review journals and another is going to be finalized in the next weeks. Furthermore, the EMPATIA Team (Coordinator: University of Ljubljana, SLO; Partners: INSEP, FRA; the University of Rome Foro Italico and the Italian Olympic Committee, ITA;, the University of Coimbra and the Ginásio Clube Figueirense, POR; the EUSA Institute, SLO; the University of Limerick and the Sport Ireland Institute, IRE; and the European Athlete as Student – EAS, the Dual Career Network, MLT) is currently implementing the online educational programme.