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Über dieses Buch

​This book presents an up-to-date portrait of the characteristics of sport clubs in various European countries and their role in society and the national sport system. Furthermore, it offers a cross-national comparative perspective of sport clubs in twenty European countries. Containing both empirical data and information on the political and historical backgrounds of sport clubs, the book is organized in three parts. First, the authors provide an overview of the theoretical approach of the book and a description of the framework used for the country chapters. Second, the country chapters, written by experts within the field, provide a systematic overview of the available information on sport clubs in each country. These chapters are structured to answer the following questions: (1) What is the position of sport clubs within the national sport structure? (2) Which role do they fulfil in policy and society? (3) What are their basic characteristics and what factors influence the development of sport clubs? The book is concluded with a systematic comparison of the participating countries with the purpose of forging a clear link between the functioning of policy systems, observed problems, and possible solutions, and with a future research agenda on sport clubs. In an era of increased collaboration between European states, sport provides a natural vehicle through which to compare changes in culture, economics, and policy across nations. Sport Clubs in Europe will appeal to scholars of nonprofit management, sports management and sports sociology as well as administrators and policy makers in the international sports community.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Sport clubs have a long tradition in nearly all European countries. They play an important role in the sporting activities of the population, not only for elite and competitive sport but also for sport for all. During the period of over a century in which sport clubs have been existent in Europe, the world around them has been changing continuously. Changes in society, in politics, in population, in economy, in leisure culture and in lifestyles have undoubtedly had an impact on sport and sport clubs all over Europe. Unmistakably, there will be differences between countries with regard to the position and functioning of sport clubs. With this book we aim to present an up-to-date portrait of the characteristics of sport clubs and their embedding in society and the national sport system in 20 European countries, using both a historical and future perspective. This chapter outlines the European context, the applied framework for the cross-national comparison and the structure of the book.
Remco Hoekman, Harold van der Werff, Siegfried Nagel, Christoph Breuer

Chapter 2. Theoretical Framework

To understand the current situation of sport clubs in Europe, one has to consider the history and development of sport clubs within European society. In this chapter we briefly outline the historical roots and basic characteristics of sport clubs, as well as their development through time. We then give an overview of current research topics, presenting different theoretical approaches to form the basis for a multilevel framework of comparison for sport clubs across different European countries.
Siegfried Nagel, Torsten Schlesinger, Pamela Wicker, Jo Lucassen, Remco Hoekman, Harold van der Werff, Christoph Breuer

Chapter 3. Sport Clubs in Austria

With regard to sport organisation in Austria, sport clubs have been playing an important role from the very beginning. Due to the lack of recognition of the significance of sport in Austria's education system sport had to be organised by different means, resulting in the sport clubs setup. This chapter concentrates on the peculiarities of the development and situation of the sport club system in the context of political and socio-historical conditions. Today sport clubs enrich the social and cultural heritage of every region. Especially in the rural municipalities they contribute towards the safekeeping of local identity.
Otmar Weiss, Gilbert Norden

Chapter 4. Sport Clubs in Belgium

In the present chapter a status quaestionis of club-organised sport in Flanders/Belgium is presented. More precisely, the most recent and relevant data will be discussed. First, we describe the historical and societal context of sport clubs in Flanders/Belgium. Second, attention is given to the role and the position of sport clubs. Time-trend and cross-sectional data are used to give more insight on this. Third, the main features of sport clubs are presented. Here, we successively focus on the sport clubs’ structural characteristics, their sport provision, their members, their volunteers, their financial situation and the role that sport clubs see for themselves. The fourth section deals with a specific topic, in this way that we provide some data with regard to the question whether sport clubs can be considered as health promoters.
Jeroen Scheerder, Hanne Vandermeerschen, Jeroen Meganck, Jan Seghers, Steven Vos

Chapter 5. Sport Clubs in the Czech Republic

On 16th February 1862 the first Czech amateur sport club Sokol Pražský was established. This sports club was the basis for the emergence of sports associations SOKOL –, clubs that were implemented in this organization had been oriented in their programs on the versatility. It started the first trend in the development of the Czech sports clubs. Another two sports federation on the same basis as Sokol was founded until 1914. The second trend in the development of sports clubs, was inspired mainly by English concept of sports, was a focus on sports performance. The first purely sporting club in the country can be considered Utraquist Eisklub Prager Verein, established 1868. Before the Second World War in the Czechoslovakia we had about 120 000 sports clubs with nearly 2 million members. From 1949 to 1990 was there the unitary system under one covering sport federation – ČSTV. Numbers of clubs were approx 5560 with nearly 1.5 million members in the Czech Republic. Since 1990 began working again the pluralistic system of sports federations, as was the case in 1949. Now the Czech Republic has 10 162 sport clubs in the five main umbrella sport federations and approx 1,7 million members.
Jiri Novotny

Chapter 6. Sport Clubs in Denmark

The kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, consisting of Denmark and the two autonomous areas: the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland. This analysis does not include the latter two parts of the kingdom. Denmark has 5.6 million inhabitants spread over approx. 43,000 km2.
Bjarne Ibsen, Karsten Østerlund, Trygve Laub

Chapter 7. Sport Clubs in England

England is the largest of the home countries in the UK, with a population of 53.9 million out of 64.1 million in the UK as a whole. Despite a rich historic tradition in manufacturing industry, the economy is now dominated by services, which comprise 80 % of employment and 77 % of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. The South East of the country is recovering faster than any other European country from the economic crash of 2008, although recovery is very uneven across England as a whole. Although comparatively wealthy, England has one of the most unequal distributions of income of all the developed countries. Figures are available to compare sports participation and volunteering in the UK as a whole with European countries. Levels of formal volunteering are slightly below the European average, well below levels in the Netherlands, Germany and the Nordic countries. This is despite a strong tradition of volunteering, much of which takes place in the structure of organisations such as sports clubs, developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, which came into power in May 2010, aimed to promote volunteering within a policy labelled as The Big Society. There is little evidence of volunteering increasing but it will have to if volunteers are to help deliver sports and other leisure facilities which local government is less able to maintain because of funding cuts. Levels of sports participation are relatively high, still below the Nordic countries, but on a par with the Netherlands and slightly above Germany and France. This reflects a strong sporting tradition, as described in the chapter below. However, levels of sports participation are static with a trend towards more individual participation, while obesity levels and associated illnesses climb rapidly.
Geoff Nichols, Peter Taylor

Chapter 8. Sport Clubs in Estonia

To understand the importance and status of sports in Estonia, one has to understand the historical background of the country. The oldest known settlement in Estonia dates back to around 11,000 years ago at the beginning of the ninth millennium BC. The first mention of the people inhabiting present-day Estonia is by the Roman historian Tacitus, who in his book Germania (ca. AD 98) describes the Aesti tribe. Due to its strategically advantageous geographical location, Estonian territory was under the rule of Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia for several consecutive centuries. By retaining its language throughout this period of history, the effects of historical events have been absorbed into the contemporary Estonian culture and the mindset, including sports.
Kristjan Port, Peeter Lusmägi

Chapter 9. Sport Clubs in Finland

This chapter introduces the current state of the Finnish sport clubs. The article aims to highlight firstly, how sport and physical culture in Finland are historically based on the civil society and volunteer activities; secondly what are the characteristics of sport clubs in Finland; and finally what kind of challenges sport clubs are facing at the moment and in the future.
Pasi Koski, Hannu Itkonen, Kati Lehtonen, Hanna Vehmas

Chapter 10. Sport Clubs in France

France is a unitary constitutional republic which has a parliamentary system with a semi-presidential tendency. Historically, the country has defended democratic, non-religious and republican values. Its motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité means Liberty, equality and fraternity. The capital of France is Paris, French being the official language with the euro as its currency.
Sabine Chavinier-Réla, Emmanuel Bayle, Eric Barget

Chapter 11. Sport Clubs in Germany

Germany is home to approximately 80.8 million people who live in 16 federal states (Destatis 2014a). Thereby, Germany is the most heavily populated country in the European Union and German is the most frequently spoken first language within the EU (EU 2014). A recent population survey reveals that 16.3 million people who live in Germany have a migration background (Destatis 2013). This shows that Germany is home to many different cultures and ethnicities. Since 1990, the former German Democratic Republic (Eastern Germany) is united with the Federal Republic of Germany (former Western Germany). Today, Germany is the biggest economy within the EU. Apart from large international companies, the German economy is characterised by consisting of many small- and medium-sized enterprises. Main sectors within the German economy include among others automobile production, mechanical and electrical engineering, and chemicals (EU 2014). Cultural-wise, Germany is known as the land of poets and thinkers and has a rich cultural scene with roughly 4,800 museums and 35 million yearly visits to theatres and orchestras (Destatis 2014b; Deutscher Bühnenverein 2014).
Christoph Breuer, Svenja Feiler, Pamela Wicker

Chapter 12. Sport Clubs in Greece

Greece is a country with a total population of 10,815.197 (ELSTAT 2011). It is the 15th largest economy in the 27-member European Union. Its economy is mainly based on the service sector (85 %), industry sector (12 %), and agriculture (3 %). One of the most important industries within the service sector is tourism. It is estimated that Greece will attract more than 18.5 million visitors in 2014, who will contribute more than 12 billion euro to the Greek economy. The sports industry is a very small sector within the Greek economy, contributing about 1.7 % to the country’s GPD.
Kostas Alexandris, Panagiota Balaska

Chapter 13. Sport Clubs in Hungary

Based on the main political and historical changes in Hungarian society, which fundamentally restructured the economic, political and social composition of the country, such as World War II and the pluralistic changes in 1989–1990, the development of sports clubs in Hungary can be divided into the following three periods: first, the era before World War II (Bodnár and Perényi 2012), second, the state socialist era between 1945 and 1989 and third, the new democratic transition period since 1989–1990 (Földesi and Egressy 2005). Through a socio-historical analysis this chapter introduces the meanings, roles and importance given to sport, as well as how this formulated the position of sport clubs in the Hungarian sport system. It is in the characteristics of the former state-socialist countries that the pace and direction of their development differ from those of the Western European countries. Regardless of the different sporting practices in Western Europe, which were also models for implementation in Eastern and Central Europe, their historic difference was deeply ingrained in the foundation of their sporting culture and shaped their sporting practices in a special way. Before World War II, these countries were neither at such a level of development, nor did they have effective organisations in place. Following the war, political notions were strong; those influences formed the mentioned special character of sport also in Hungary. This underlines the reason for a socio-historical approach when introducing the role of sport clubs in policy and society, and gives an answer to the question of why sport clubs exist, how important sport clubs are for society and what contributions they make to local communities.
Szilvia Perényi, Ilona Bodnár

Chapter 14. Sport Clubs in Italy

Italy is a parliamentary republic in southern Europe. It is one of the most populated nations in the European Union—61 million inhabitants—and the fourth largest economy (the ninth in the world). In a similar way to many other European countries, Italy has developed a dynamic and efficient sport system. Especially in top-elite sport it represents one of the most successful nations in terms of Olympic medals and victories in international competitions. Since the establishment of the Italian Republic, after the end of the Second World War and the collapse of the Fascist regime, the Italian sport system has taken on uncommon and specific features. The peculiar role played by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), along with the distinctive features of some of the actors operating in the system—like for instance the Sport Promotion Bodies representing some of the most innovative experiences of sport for all organisations in Europe—has defined an almost unique form and an interesting field of investigation.
Antonio Borgogni, Simone Digennaro, Davide Sterchele

Chapter 15. Sport Clubs in The Netherlands

The Netherlands are a prosperous country. Compared to other countries wage differences and social inequality are low, and the standards for education, health, safety and security are high. Furthermore, with approximately 500 inhabitants per square kilometre it is dense populated. The culture of the Dutch is characterised by co-operation and making compromises rather than emphasising differences. With regard to sport these conditions can be considered favourable, as higher income and educational levels are often associated with higher rates of sport participation. Furthermore, the willingness to co-operate and looking for shared interests are essential for the existence of sport clubs with their voluntary staff. Finally, the high population density ensures limited distances to sport facilities and sport clubs.
Harold van der Werff, Remco Hoekman, Janine van Kalmthout

Chapter 16. Sport Clubs in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is one of the four home nations that constitute the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the smallest of the home nations both in terms of geography (13,843 km2, 6 %) and population (1.8 m, 2.8 %). The economy of Northern Ireland is heavily dependent on the public sector for employment and it has some of the highest levels of unemployment in the UK. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland is emerging from a 30-year conflict known as the troubles into a vibrant service sector lead economy with considerable tourism and inward investment. Sport Northern Ireland (Sport NI) is the leading public body for sport development in the region and enjoys the status of being a National Lottery fund distributor. Since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994, Sport Northern Ireland has benefited from approximately £9.3 m per year for sport. This has been used to develop and enhance Northern Irelands’ sporting infrastructure including financial investment in sport clubs. Like the rest of the UK, sport clubs are integral part of community life and provide the majority of opportunities for people to take part in organised sport. Consequently as part of the UK, the historical perspective of sport clubs in Northern Ireland is largely the same as for England as outlined in Chap. 7 by Nichols and Taylor. There are however some issues which are specific to Northern Ireland and these are covered later in this chapter.
Paul Donnelly, Simon Shibli, Simon Toole

Chapter 17. Sport Clubs in Norway

This chapter is about sport clubs in Norway. Norway is a constitutional monarchy with about five million inhabitants. It is part of the Scandinavian tradition of social democratic welfare states which comprises both a strong state and a relatively large civil sector (Esping-Andersen 1990). The largest proportion of the civil sector is voluntary sport organisations (Seippel 2008; Ibsen and Seippel 2010, Sivesind 2012). In this chapter Norwegian sport clubs are first presented as a historical phenomenon and as part of an context. Then there are two main sections: on the role of sport clubs in policy and society, and on the characteristics of sport clubs. Next, we discuss a central characteristic of Norwegian sport as the special topic, namely, the close and intricate state–sport relationship and some current trends challenging this relationship. We end the chapter with a conclusion.
Ørnulf Seippel, Eivind Å. Skille

Chapter 18. Sport Clubs in Poland

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, with a total surface of 312,679 square kilometres is the largest country situated in Central Europe. The 2013 population of Poland is approximately 38.5 million people and has a density of 123,000 inhabitants per square kilometre (GUS 2014, p. 587). Poland became an independent state in 1918, but in World War II was overrun by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. After the war, Poland was transformed into a Soviet satellite. Poland’s economy is considered to be one of the healthiest of the post-Communist countries and is one of the fastest growing within the EU (Cienski 2012). Although EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy since 2004, GDP per capita remains significantly below the EU average.
Monika Piątkowska

Chapter 19. Sport Clubs in Sweden

Sweden is home to Upsala Simsällskap, founded in 1796, often mentioned as the oldest sport club in the world still competing in regular contests. Since then, Swedish voluntary and membership-based club sport has grown exponentially and come to embrace nearly a third of the Swedish population. This phenomenon is often credited in international comparisons of physical activity and civic engagement but also often claimed as an explanation for the success of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Annika Sörenstam, Björn Borg and Sarah Sjöström. For many Swedes, sport is an integral part of everyday life as pastime, entertainment, physical exercise, competition or volunteer work. In this chapter, the background to and specifics of these features are outlined together with an analysis of current tensions in the landscape of Swedish club sport.
Josef Fahlén

Chapter 20. Sport Clubs in Slovenia

Slovenia has a population of two million. With the changes of political system (1991), significant changes in commercialisation and the partnership between state and private capital occurred also in the area of financing of sport. Today, sports organisations at all levels are financed from public and private funds.
Simona Kustec Lipicer, Mojca Doupona Topič

Chapter 21. Sport Clubs in Spain

Spain is a decentralised state with an approximate population of 47.1 million. It is a European Union member state since 1986 and the 13th largest economy in the world. According to the latest survey of sporting habits conducted in Spain (2010), 19 % of people over the age of 15 engage in some kind of sport or physical activity through a sports club or association. The corresponding figures in previous surveys were 24 % in 2005 and 25 % in 2000. Although the number of sports clubs in Spain has increased over the last 10 years, there has been an even greater rise in the number of people taking up recreational sport or physical activity without being formally linked to any sports federation or organisation. This chapter presents an analysis of sports clubs in Spain, doing so on the basis of information gathered from secondary sources, previous research, and studies conducted by the authors of this chapter.
Ramon Llopis-Goig, Anna Vilanova

Chapter 22. Sport Clubs in Switzerland

Currently, Switzerland has about 20,000 million sport clubs offering about 150 different sports for its roughly 1.6 million active members. This translates into 2.5 clubs per 1000 inhabitants and about a fifth of the population being a sport club member. The average Swiss sports club has somewhat over 100 active members, is almost exclusively based on voluntary work and generates earnings and expenses of roughly 10,000 Euros per year. Even tough other settings for practising sport ("free" sport, privately owned fitness centres) have gained in importance over the past few decades, sport clubs remain the dominant framework for doing regular and competitive sports. The article shows that the sustained "success story" of sport clubs in Switzerland is closely linked to a long tradition – the first clubs date back to the late medieval times and the early 19th century –, favourable legal conditions, the cooperative nature of relationships between clubs and government and a generally favourable societal climate for sport in Switzerland.
Hanspeter Stamm, Adrian Fischer, Siegfried Nagel, Markus Lamprecht

Chapter 23. A Cross-National Comparative Perspective on Sport Clubs in Europe

The preceding 20 chapters have presented national perspectives on sport clubs based on quantitative and descriptive information on the origin of sport clubs, the position of sport clubs within policy and society, and characteristics of sport clubs. In this chapter we offer a cross-national comparison based on the multilevel framework that served as a guideline for the authors for their country chapters. From a macro perspective we pay in this comparison attention to the origin and development of sport clubs and the way sport clubs are embedded in the national sport system, and within policy and society. From a meso perspective we illustrate differences and similarities in the characteristics of sport clubs and identify the main bottlenecks and challenges of sport clubs in the context of the current developments in modern sports and society. Finally, we consider trends and developments and provide a future perspective on sport clubs in Europe and identify knowledge gaps and avenues for future research.
Remco Hoekman, Harold van der Werff, Siegfried Nagel, Christoph Breuer
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