In April 2022, the European Commission published the ‘Study on the European Sport Model’. Study recognised a number of factors that negatively influence volunteers in sport, which resulted in lower number of volunteers in the sport sector. One of the reasons mentioned were high demands placed on volunteers to take on the kind of work that they don’t consider to be a ‘core’ work in sport (e.g., ensuring safe sport, equality, sustainability, etc.). There is a specific mention of a changing role of volunteers which are no longer based in grassroots sports, but they are required to operate on higher levels (e.g., European) and in more demanding roles which the authors perceived as a deterring factor for someone who only likes to be involved with the sport team and the local community. There is a specific mention of the fear that a decline in volunteering could undermine the European Sport Model, which is the central topic of the project ‘Economic dimension of volunteering in sport’, which aims to support policy making in the field of sport, particularly in relation to its impact on volunteers in sport. Authors of the study mentioned that the European Sport Model can survive only with the support of volunteers. They mentioned some solutions to combat the declining numbers of volunteers in sport, but the offered solutions are the old solutions that didn’t yield results.
Study conducted by the collaborative partnership on the economic dimension of volunteering in sport is, therefore, offering a unique perspective that was not mentioned in the Commission’s study – to focus on evidence-based policy making supported through harmonised statistics in the field of volunteering in sport.