International Comparisons of Sports participation in European countries: an Update of the COMPASS Project

Waxmann Verlag
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The European Journal for Sport and Society, 2011, 8 (1/2), pp. 99 - 116
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COMPASS (Coordinated Monitoring of Pmticipation in Sports) was a jointly funded initiative of the UK Sports Council, English Sports Council, and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the aim of which was to examine existing systems for the collection and analysis of sports participation data in European countries with a view to identifying ways in which harmonisation may be achieved, so that greater comparability of data from different European countries would become possible. The COMPASS report (UK Sport, Sport England and CONI, 1999) was published in 1999 and provided comparative data on sports participation for seven European countries, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The comparisons were made using an analytical framework that categorised participation into seven participation groups related to intensity of participation, club membership and whether participation was competitive or not. Despite the difficulties in making cross-national comparisons in sports participation across European countries, the COMPASS report has shown that there is evidence of an emerging European profile of sports participation. This paper attempts to build on the original COMPASS results and analyse what lessons can be learned for making comparisons of sports participation across European countries today.
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