Today EU Athletes publishes the results of its research on the long-term impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Players and their Player associations in Europe.
This study is the continuation of the EU Athletes survey that was conducted amongst EU Athletes members at the early stage of the pandemic in 2020 (can be found here).
For EU Athletes Vice President, Natalie ORIVE, the results of this second survey shows that even if the pandemic is almost behind, it still has an important overall impact on Athletes in Europe “It was clear in our mind that the effects of the pandemic could only be measured in the long term, that’s why we wanted to have a clear evaluation of the situation two years after the pandemic has started”.
Over the last 2 years the work done by the Player Association for their members was structurally modified. With limited access to the players, no face to face interaction and majority of the work conducted online the consequences could have been dramatic. The results show that only 22% of the association have experienced a loss in their membership while at the same time 74% of them experienced an increase in a demand for services from the period compared to before the pandemic.
“In a really insecure time for players it’s great and encouraging to see players reaching out to their Player Association for help” Natalia Orive, vice-president of EU Athletes.
Structural governance problems, the involvement of the Player Association.
The report further revealed a number of issues of concern that need acknowledgement and drastic countermeasures. These include, among other things, a lack of respect for players’ rights and interests, a deprivation of players’ workers status and proper contracts, and insufficient involvement of player associations in decision-making processes. 48% of the player association reported a “lack of involvement in the decision making process” while leagues and federations were taking measures that would directly affect players (scheduling of the season, pay-cuts, health and safety protocol…).
58% of the members association have noticed a decrease in players salary during the pandemic period. “This situation is really alarming for athletes, especially in less professionalized sports” said Natalia Orive.
Mental health and women sport 2 areas of concern.
“We knew that COVID-19 would affect the mental health of athletes. Now we have the data that corroborate this statement” said Natalia Orive “From one day to the next athletes were going from permanent activity to nothing. It’s pretty much as if all the athletes in Europe retired on the exact same day, with no or little vision of what would come next. 70% of our members have reported a negative impact on their mental health. It’s really alarming and concrete measures should be taken rapidly. Mental health should be properly addressed from now on” she added.
While some player associations reported having witnessed more sponsoring and more media attention being brought to women’s sport, it remains a fact that the area is of low priority as 67% of the respondents received “no targeted support for women”. This is alarming considering that such support is necessary in protecting the significant progress women’s elite sport has seen over the past years.
EU Athletes will continue to work on a post-pandemic evaluation of the individual situation of its members to ensure that the mentioned issues of concern (as well as additional issues listed in the report) are duly addressed both at the European and national level.
You can download the full report here.
For any inquiries please contact EU Athletes : firstname.lastname@example.org