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Why continuity and innovation are equally important to sports clubs

By ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby

Last weekend I met a 70-year-old. Not a 70-year-old person, but rather a well-known member of ISCA. I joined our member organisation UISP in celebrating its 70th anniversary with a seminar on advocacy for physical activity.

70 years is quite some time and we can congratulate UISP and other organisations for being able to be a relevant civil society organisation for several decades. Well done!

Sport organisations both at the club level and umbrella organisation level have different histories across the globe. Some of the oldest – still existing – sport clubs are German clubs with more than 200 years of history, and Czech Sokol Organisation has over 150 years. It is quite amazing that a voluntary based civil society organisation like a sport club with few hundreds or a few thousands of members can exist for so long. That is important continuity.

On the other hand, the clubs-based sport sector also depends on the development and creation of new clubs with new aims and priorities. The creation of new clubs is important for at least two reasons:

First, some clubs close/stop existing so new clubs are needed.

Second, sometimes development and innovation is easier by starting a new initiative or founding new clubs than changing existing ones.

Assisting in the creation of new clubs and other organisations that can provide relevant activities to citizens is therefore one important task in giving citizens better access to physical activity.

The diagram below is from Germany. It shows the founding year of the existing 90,000 sport clubs in Germany. (Gründungsjahr = Founding year).

The data are from 2014 and show that more than 20,000 clubs (23.3%), in this case in Germany, have been founded after 1990. And it is an ongoing process.

For a national sport organisation with clubs as members, the ratio of new clubs founded is an import key figure. It indicates some of the innovative dynamics.

With this I wish you a good week – no matter if it will be taking part in a young club or a 70+ year-old one – as long as they are relevant.

Posted on 15/05/2018 by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby