Safeguarding in sport and policy advocacy: the role of the council of Europe

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Abstract

Violence and maltreatment in sport threaten athlete rights and undermine sport’s potential contribution to positive social development. This problem remains prevalent in organised sport and limits sport’s potential social contribution. In response, numerous European and international actors have pursued activities to address this serious issue. In particular, for more than two decades, the Council of Europe (CoE) has played an active role in promoting and supporting safeguarding policy in sport. However, though extensive time and resources have been invested in these actions, their extent and impact remain unclear. Therefore, using the Council of Europe’s Start to Talk initiative as a case, we aim to analyse the inputs, activities, and policy outcomes of their work around safeguarding policy in sport. In turn, this will allow us to identify successes, challenges and future directions for European policy activities. We rely on document analysis and more than 20 semi-structured qualitative interviews with national and international experts to generate our results. Based on this, we find that the CoE has helped politically legitimise action on this topic and has helped generate engagement with policymakers and the public. However, a broader lack of policy monitoring, especially at the systems and target population levels, restricts further progress and development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11.04.2023

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