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Thematic Symposia

Chairs: Andreas Christoph Weber, Hippolyt Kempf


The Olympic Games are a dynamic competitive environment for nations to compete in. This competitive environment is characterised by an increase of nations competing and winning medals, as well as nations increasing their (public) investment in high performance sport. The latter finding is described in the literature as an ongoing global sporting arms race between nations.

Nations are challenged in this environment to manage their high performance sport system. Within the national system, the National Sports Agency (NSA) is the leading decision-making organisation on the national level of sports, or high performance sport in particular. Working together with other organisations, these governmental, hybrid or non-governmental organisations are responsible for, among other things, the allocation of financial resources to the different sports, which are supported on the national level. The NSAs generally aim at increasing (or at least stabilising) their medal success at the Olympic Games and possibly build a competitive advantage in the longer run. Given that the price for success is increasing, the thematic symposia focuses on the following questions:

  • Which strategies do nations apply to increase their success at the Olympic Games?
  • Which role does the National Sports Agency play in the elite sport system?
  • How can National Sports Agencies implement their strategies in their national system - Challenges and best practice?

The questions are addressed by taking the perspective of practitioners and of scientists.


Time Topic Speaker/s
10:30 - 11:00 Sporting Arms Race – Learnings and Challenges for National Sport Agencies Investing More Money Veerle De Bosscher
11:00 - 11:30 The Finnish Elite Sport System – Strategies and Challenges in the Next Decade Mika Kojonkoski
11:30 - 12:00 Chinese Success at the Olympic Games – A Strategic Approach Jinming Zheng
12:00 - 12:30 Round Table Discussion: Sporting Arms Race – Learnings from Theory and Findings for Praxis to Increase Olympic Success Peter Minder, Veerle De Bosscher, Mika Kojonkoski, Jinming Zheng & Ralph Stöckli

Managing the Fight Against the Manipulation of Sport Competitions

Wednesday, 6 September 2017; 14:10 to 17:40

Chair: Michaël Mrkonjic


In a sporting environment characterised by globalisation, commercialisation and new technologies, sport organisations are dealing with an expanding number of complex issues. The growth of the (illegal) sportsbook industry and the resulting possibilities of immediate and significant profit have led to the development of a match-fixing system. Match fixers and their networks try to alter the glorious uncertainty of sport by convincing players, referees or other stakeholders to alter the run and the outcome of the game for their personal benefits.

International and national sport organisations are committed to protect the integrity of the game and to fight against the manipulation of sport competitions. In recent years, an encouraging number of sport organisations have developed specific rules, procedures, tools, or mechanisms towards this aim. Intergovernmental organisations, state-authorised lotteries or national governments have also participated in this effort by providing conceptual clarity and homogeneity, detecting cases or initiating disciplinary actions. Drawing from the positive signs, this symposium aims to present different initiatives which have been taken over the past years at international and Swiss levels and to consider them as useful resources for a sport organisation willing to carry out its strategy. In particular, it will focus on institutional resources (e.g. the legal framework) and knowledge (e.g. education or research). In order to meet these objectives, the following questions will be addressed: How is manipulation of sport competitions defined? Which responses have been provided to tackle the issue and which have yet to be explored? What can we learn from research and concrete cases?


Time Topic Speaker/s
14:10 - 14:15 Introduction Michaël Mrkonjic
14:15 - 14:40 The Role of Intergovernmental Organisations and Harmonised Instruments Stanislas Frossard
14:40 - 15:05 The Commitment of State-authorised Lotteries Jean-Luc Moner-Banet
15:05 - 15:30 The Fight Against the Manipulation of Sport Competitions in Switzerland Wilhelm Rauch
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break  
16:00 - 16:25 Analysis of the Phenomenon Denis Oswald
16:25 - 16:50 Competition Manipulation: A Business for Criminals. Education as One of the Most Effective Solution to Protect Sport and Athletes? Daniela Giuffre
16:50 - 17:15 What Can We Learn from Concrete Cases and Situations? Kevin Carpenter
17:15 - 17:20 Conclusions Michaël Mrkonjic

Professionalisation of Sport Organisations

Friday, 8 September 2017; 9:00 to 12:30

Chairs: Siegfried Nagel, Emmanuel Bayle, Torsten Schlesinger


International and national sport organisations are currently facing major challenges, such as growing competition in top-level sports, the democratisation of sports with “sports for all” and sports as the answer to social problems (e.g. integration, education, health, unemployment, etc.). In this context, professionalisation is discussed as an appropriate way of organisational development, which has led to a profound organisational change characterised by the strengthening of strategic and institutional management, the implementation of efficiency-based management instruments and paid staff.

In the first part of the symposium the keynote speaker David Shilbury will give an overview on current concepts and studies of professionalisation of sport organisations from an international sport management perspective. Afterwards, key findings of the research project “Professionalisation of national and international Sport Federations in Switzerland” will be presented by different members of the research team. They will point out selected results on different types of professionalised national as well as international sport federations, factors that promote or hinder professionalisation and consequences as well as outcomes of such an organisational development. The second part will start with case studies of sport federations that have just passed through a process of professionalisation. Finally, the following questions will be discussed by a panel of experts from sport management research as well as sport federations: What can we learn from research? What do practioners expect from research? Is professionalisation a useful strategy for the future development of all sport federations? What are the opportunities and risks?


Time Topic Speaker/s
09:00 - 09:30 The pace of change: How professionalisation has shaped the work of sport organisations David Shilbury
09:40 - 09:50 Introduction Emmanuel Bayle, Siegfried Nagel & Torsten Schlesinger
09:50 - 10:05 Types of Professionalisation in Swiss National Sport Federations Grazia Lang
10:05 - 10:20 Causes and consequences of professionalisation in Swiss national sport federations Kaisa Ruoranen
10:20 - 10:35 Professionalisation of Swiss Orienteering – A Case Study Martin Gygax & Christoffer Klenk
10:40 - 11:10 Coffee break  
11:10 - 11:30 Reforming Olympic international federation governance Jean-Loup Chappelet
11:30 - 11:45 Causes and Conequences of Professionalisation in International sport Federations Josephine Clausen
11:45 - 12:30 Panel Discussion Emmanuel Bayle, Jean-Loup Chappelet, Judith Conrad, James Carr & David Shilbury

Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sport Clubs

Friday, 8 September 2017; 13:30 to 17:30

Chairs: Siegfried Nagel, Bjarne Ibsen


Sport policy emphasises the important role of sport clubs in the promotion of social inclusion. Sport clubs bring people with different social and cultural backgrounds together in communities where they can create stable social networks and friendships. However, being a member in a sport club does not automatically lead to good integration in terms of successful interaction and identification with a club. What characterises the clubs that are successful in integrating different groups, and what are the main practices that promote effective social integration?

Volunteers are the most important resource that allow clubs to survive. Through the work of volunteers new members can be included into sport clubs, but new members can also be included through taking roles as volunteers themselves. This makes volunteering relevant not only for sport clubs and members, but also for society, if inclusion in a club represents inclusion in the broader community. However, many sport clubs have difficulties in recruiting and retaining enough qualified volunteers. What characterises the clubs that are successful in recruiting and retaining volunteers, and how can the clubs manage this problem effectively?

In the first part of the symposium Alison Doherty will give a keynote on current concepts and studies of social inclusion and volunteering in sport clubs from an international sport management perspective. This is followed by presentations on interim findings of the research project “Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sport Clubs in Europe (SIVSCE)”, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, which address the questions above. This comparative study in ten European countries consists of: an overview of sport structures and the role of government in each country; a survey of sport clubs; a survey of club members; and three case study clubs in each country – selected as good examples of promoting volunteering or the inclusion of various under-represented sections of the population. Finally, sport management experts from other continents offer a critical reflection on these research findings.


Time Topic Speaker/s
13:30 - 14:00 Turning a critical lens on social inclusion and volunteering Alison Doherty
14:10 - 14:15 Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sport Clubs - Introduction Bjarne Ibsen & Siegfried Nagel
14:15 - 14:30 Understanding Differences in Sport Policy and Structures Across Europe Geoff Nichols, Bjarne Ibsen, & Karsten Elmose-Østerlund
14:30 - 14:45 A Comparative Perspective on Sport Clubs in Europe Christoph Breuer & Svenja Feiler
14:45 - 15:00 Social Integration in Sport Clubs in Europe Bjarne Ibsen
15:00 - 15:15 Volunteering in Sport Clubs in Europe Siegfried Nagel
15:15 - 15:30 Promoting Social Integration and Volunteering in Sport Clubs – Lessons from Practice Szilvia Perényi & Monika Piatkowska
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break  
16:00 - 16:15 Social Integration in Swiss Sport Clubs – The Cases of FC Thun and BC Femina Bern Jenny Adler-Zwahlen & Julia Albrecht
16:15 - 16:30 “More Volunteers in Football Clubs” – A Program of Swiss Football Association to Promote Volunteers Benjamin Egli
16:30 - 16:50 A Critical View from Outside on Sport Clubs in Europe Tracy Taylor & Alison Doherty
16:50 - 17:00 Summary: What Can we Learn from Research? Bjarne Ibsen & Siegfried Nagel

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