At the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2022 (FPEU 2022), EASE and Sport and Citizenship organized a conference on the subject “How to build the social impact of sport?”.

For this event, that occurred in Paris in the stadium of Roland-Garros and was hosted by the French Federation of Tennis (FFT), different experts were gathered to discuss the topic of the social impact of sport events and activities. This question is regularly addressed, as it is today a central concern for all sport actors.

As a short introduction, Gilles Moretton, president of the French Federation of Tennis (FFT), reiterated the strong commitments of the FFT to social and environmental responsibility, in the context of events like the Roland-Garros tournaments or the Rolex Paris Masters, and in the clubs. Clément Beaune, secretary of State to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs and responsible for European Affairs, recalled that sport is part of the guidelines of the FPEU 2022, about the strengthening of the European model: sport can be a lever for education as well as a response to the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN. Roxana Maracineanu, French Delegate Minister for Sports, confirmed that measuring the social impact of sport is essential to legitimize and enhance the value of sports projects implemented by territorial actors.

After this brief presentation of the topic, two roundtables were held.

The first roundtable was on the subject: “The social impact of major sporting events”, with Amélie Oudéa-Castéra (General Manager of the FFT), Marie Barsacq (Director of Impact & Legacy Paris 2024), Brigitte Henriques (President of the French National Olympic Committee), Philippe Diallo (President of COSMOS and EASE) and Julien Collette (Deputy General Manager of the Rugby World Cup 2023 Organisation Committee).

The organizers of sports events underlined the importance of bringing together all the actors around a project to create dynamics that can last after the event. Organizers also take action to bring to the forefront issues such as the development and structuring of volunteer involvement or inequalities linked to sports facilities. In addition, many federations are already committed to social and environmental issues through a system of club certification.

The second roundtable was about the methodologies for measuring social impact of sports, with Karen Maguire (Referent for jobs, skills and social innovation at the OECD), Mickaël Attali (Director of the laboratory VIPS), Bruno Morel (Director of the NGO Emmaüs Solidarité), Anne Coquerelle (Director of Social Impact and Innovation at Decathlon) and Viviane Fraisse (CSR Manager of the FFT).

They collectively agreed on the idea that current methodologies for measuring social impact were still flawed but presented important stakes for the next years. Against the idea that sport is a virtuous activity by nature, it is necessary to prove in a scientific, simplified and universal way that sport has positive externalities for society. This approach must consider all the stakeholders and evaluate the different social aspects related to the development of sport practices (social development, health, urbanism, access to employment…) while adapting to the studied territory.

The conclusions of the discussions showed that numerous initiatives already exist to improve and measure the social impact of sport. However, the methodological framework can still evolve considerably by considering all the stakeholders.

As a conclusion, 3 main proposals were done:

  • To build a common, simple and universal methodology by establishing a cooperation between the professional world, the sports field, the State and academic research,
  • To write a European Social Charter for Sport Events, de veloped through the ESCSE project,
  • To structure a European network of committed actors to measure the social impact of sport activities and events, in order to facilitate exchanges between members and to build a measurement method, a project that is already led by Sport and Citizenship.