Teodora Pletosu will be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming CHAMP Conference. She will share the innovative practices from the European sports organizations and explain how the current crisis can be an opportunity to reinvent and innovate.
Teodora Pletosu is a senior researcher and consultant at KEA European Affairs. Her tasks include developing the impact assessment and evaluation methodologies to understand how EU, national and regional cultural, audiovisual and sport polices contribute to economic and social development. She also provides strategic advice to local, regional and European public authorities on how to build development strategies for the above-mentioned sectors and to access public funds. The topics Teodora works with are often cross-cut by the concepts of innovation, sustainability and the digital shift. She is also a decent swimmer and diver in her free time.
Never let a good crisis go to waste – what can the sport movement and sport clubs learn from the Covid-19 pandemic (closures, crisis)? What do you think are the most important lessons for the sport movement?
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been harsh with the sport sector, I believe it has also provided opportunities for the latter. To fight and defeat a pandemic it takes a collective effort, which is first and foremost community-based. Sport has proven to be a fundamental driver in this effort through its social and educational role, helping people to find purpose during the confinement period, to connect with peers by sharing common goals, to keep a healthy mind and body. The attitude towards sport seems to have been molded by the emergency of the sanitary crisis, with the effect that sport practices are now increasingly seen as central in the overall society’s recovery process. This has provided sport clubs and associations with the opportunity to develop innovative sport practices in close collaboration with citizens, which are less performance-oriented, but focused on health-enhancing physical activity, on social cohesion and mutual understanding. With their strong position in community life, sport clubs and associations have a significant role in mobilizing society to face future pandemic and health threats, not only by encouraging individual efforts to keep healthy and fit, but also by thinking and implementing Active Development Strategies in collaboration with public authorities for local and regional development.
What are some of the key findings, or lessons, you identified in the “Mapping of innovative practices in the EU”?
Our research has shown that sport practice nowadays is less driven by the performance factor, as is by an increasingly wider palette of other motivations, such as the pursuit of better health and well-being, or the need of a more sustainable and ‘clean’ lifestyle. This has only been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic (as mentioned above). As such, it has become evident that the sport sector, namely sport clubs and associations, needs to adapt to the increasing demand of diversity and flexibility and start innovating, not only in their offer of activities, but also in their strategies of attracting new people, especially the youth, in practicing sport and in keeping them coming back, especially in a post-covid-19 scenario. Our research has collected innovative practices to promote sport and physical activity that already exist across the EU. This mapping has led to the identification of several trends on how innovation emerges in the context of these new initiatives, which are related to the concept of active spaces, new technologies and the importance of public-private partnerships.
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