How do you create a safe and secure sports club?

🇸🇪 Summary in Swedish 

Tomas Peterson
Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University

In recent years, the handball club HK Malmö has carried out a project with the aim of supporting the club´s ambition to adapt its activities in accordance with the Swedish Sport Federation Document Strategy 2025. Thework has focused mainly on issues that affect club values, by creating safe sports environments for the club,its members and collaboration partners. They have recruited a group that works with incidents occurring during activities that are contrary to the club values, ranging from planning, follow-up and implementation. The grouphas created stepwise action plans in the event of mental illness, bullying, abuse, threats and violence, as wellas sexual harassment and assault. This article presents an evaluation of the project Safe and secure clubduring the past two years.

The major challenge formulated in Strategy 2025 – to “go from triangle to rectangle” – is to achieve a balancebetween democratic and competition training respectively, to fulfill both society’s and sport’s assignments tosport clubs. Some of the challenges HK Malmö deals with can be described in terms of fragility, long-term thinking, continuity, and perseverance. Strategical means that should be used are long-term thinking, to buildthe organization so that the “wheel spins”, to work with two recruitment processes at the same time, one short-and one long-term, and a way of working that resembles a Sisyphean task, working uphill. The club’ organization is currently based on a mix of professional and voluntary work, but there’s a need to increase theproportion of professional work to deal with non-professional activities.

The conclusion from this evaluation is that the function that the club has built up around the resource team and a formalized agenda with stepwise action plans and professional competencies to follow up the incidents, could be used as a role model within the sports movement when it comes to creating safe sportsenvironments, for example by counteracting abusive treatment. But in that case, one cannot just unreflectivelyintroduce this function into the activities of any club; it must be in line with a continuous work of firmly establishing a value-system in the club.

Get the full-text article in Swedish

TOMAS PETERSON works as a senior professor at the Department of Sport Sciences at Malmö University. His research areas include the professionalization of Swedish football, selection and ranking mechanisms in children’s and youth sports, the relationship between school and club sports, sports policy, equal health, and sports and social entrepreneurship.

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