Monday 11th July 2022


On the 7th and 8th of July 2022, EASE held the kick-off meeting of the SDE Pro Sports project. Approved by the European Commission in April, this project officially started on the 1st of July 2022. It involves EASE, EU Athletes and the German Sports University of Cologne. It aims to develop social dialogue in professional sports in Europe and increase the exchange of knowledge between social partners in the sport sector at a European and a national level.

The SDE Pro Sport project will be based on mapping and highlighting the positive aspects of the collective agreements that already exist in some countries. A mapping of the positive outcomes of social dialogue in professional sports in Europe will be realised by the researchers of the German Sports University. It will be useful to assess the current state of social dialogue for professional sports in each European country. From this, a guide which gathers good practices and relevant information will be produced. The goal of this guide is to help developing and strengthening a long-term social dialogue in professional sports, both at a European and national level. It will help the national and European social partners, such as professional athletes and sport employers, to commit to social dialogue. With the SDE Pro Sports project, the consortium wants to develop the knowledge on the European social dialogue in the sport sector and to strengthen social dialogue in professional sports in every European country.

The project started on the 1st of July and, thanks to this meeting, the partners of the consortium were gathered in person for the first time, to discuss the advancement of the project, and more precisely the realisation of the first phase, which is the mapping of social dialogue outcomes in professional sports in Europe. This mapping will be led by the German Sports University of Cologne, with the support of EASE and EU Athletes.

To start a preliminary analysis of social dialogue in professional sports, sport employers’ and employees’ representatives were also present at this meeting, so they can share their expertise on national collective agreements and social dialogue processes. Some EASE members were invited to present their own experience of social dialogue in professional sports, in their capacity as sport employers who participated to the negotiation of national collective agreements for professional disciplines in their countries:

  • The Dutch Association of Sport Employers (WOS),
  • The French Sport Employers’ Organization (COSMOS),
  • The Swedish Association of Sport Employers (Arbetsgivaralliansen),
  • The Finnish Olympic Committee,
  • The French Union of Professional Women’s Handball Clubs (UCPHF).

Their views were completed by the expertise of sport employees’ representatives, invited by EU Athletes:

  • The Italian National Union of Basketball Players (GIBA),
  • The Slovenian Athletes Union,
  • The Athletes Association of Iceland (LI),
  • The Spanish Futsal male Players Association (AJFS),
  • The Spanish Futsal female Players Association (AJFS),
  • Rugby Players Ireland.

Through the two days of meeting, partners of the consortium and professional participants could discuss the most relevant ways to define and analyse social dialogue outcomes in professional sports in Europe. Indeed, each participant presented the state of social dialogue in professional sports in their country. The variety of situations among the represented countries showed the heterogeneity of advancement of the European social dialogue: depending on the definition of “professional athletes” and on the existence of employers’ or employees’ representatives, each country has its own feature of social dialogue in professional sports. Therefore, the national scale has been identified as the most relevant to analyse the progress of social dialogue in Europe: this scale will help to analyse in detail the development of social dialogue, depending on each national historical and economic context, while identifying common grounds among some countries.

The aim will be to study the achievements and the perspectives of social dialogue. The processes and the actors that participated to each national process of development of social dialogue will be studied, as well as the next steps that would be necessary to further develop social dialogue at national level. To do so, a methodology will be developed by GSU, with the help of EU Athletes, EASE, and their members. This methodology will be the basis from which the mapping of social dialogue outcomes in Europe will be constituted. This pioneer study will present at the same time legal framework, social dialogue achievements and actors in 15 member states at least.

From this, a great step will be achieved, as there is currently a lack of knowledge about social dialogue outcomes in Europe, more precisely regarding the involved actors and the successful processes applied in each country. It will highlight the benefits of social dialogue and it will encourage national social partners to take the path towards social dialogue.

If you want to learn more about this project, you can find more information here.