Project website
Lead partner:
European Commission, DG EAC
Overall value:
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The SHARE initiative (SportHub: Alliance for Regional development in Europe) is a platform gathering the sport movement, academia, cities and regions to promote the role of sport and physical activity in regional and local development.

Sport and physical activity make a tremendous contribution to regional development through their impact on a number of key policy areas such as: innovation and research, social cohesion and inclusion, employability, territorial regeneration and environmental protection, as evidenced in the 2016 study on the contribution of sport to regional development through Structural Funds. Unfortunately, these impacts are still not sufficiently known, and sport is therefore underserved in terms of public policies and funding. As part of the Union’s aim to develop the European dimension in sport, more systematic mobilisation of EU programmes and funds for sport should be achieved, in particular to exploit its value as a tool for local and regional development.

Infographics on the manifold contribution of sport to regional development (KEA, 2018-2020)
Infographics on the manifold contribution of sport to regional development (KEA, 2018-2020) / © Image credits: KEA European Affairs


The SHARE initiative aims to:

  • Ensure that sport and physical activity are adequately taken into account for EU, national, regional and local policy-making in particular Cohesion Policy, designed to encourage the regional and local development in EU Member States;
  • Strengthen the cross-sectorial approach of sport in view of the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 main policy objectives;
  • Unlock different funding streams for sport so that it can deliver its full potential for regional development. The Cohesion Policy funds are particularly important in this respect.

The main activities to deliver on these objectives include:

  • Supporting evidence-based policy-making (i.e. developing and pooling studies, data and statistics);
  • Developing capacity-building activities for public and private institutions at local, regional and national levels to help them acquire the right skills and knowledge related to SHARE objectives;
  • Carrying out advocacy, awareness-raising actions and events, including dissemination of evidence and good practices related to the contribution of sport to regional development.

KEA is the scientific and public affairs coordinator of the SHARE initiative.

The SHARE core experts and stakeholders have worked together to produce several research papers exploring various ways in which sport and physical activity can contribute to the future objectives of the EU Cohesion Policy. These papers are widely disseminated to ensure all relevant decision-makers are equipped with this knowledge and to harness sport’s contribution for local and regional development:

  • The contribution of sport to regional development through Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 available in EN, FR, DE;
  • Mapping Smart Specialisation Strategies for sport available in EN, FR, DE;
  • Active Development: An integrated contribution from sport and physical activity to economic and social development available in EN, FR, DE;
  • The role of universities in sport ecosystems: Towards triple and quadruple helix models for sport policy developments available in EN;
  • Green transition and sport at all levels: Executive summary available in EN; Full text available in EN.

Three background papers were also developed to highlight current EU policy developments of interest for the core objectives of the initiative and of its members:

  • The New European Bauhaus: opportunities for the sport sector available in EN;
  • Next Generation EU: how can the sport sector benefit? available in EN;
  • EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027: how can the sport sector benefit? available in EN.

The SHARE initiative also produced a document which sets out a common vision on the contribution of sport to regional development and establishes several targeted actions to strengthen this contribution.

You can read the SHARE Vision in the following languages: BG ES ET CS DA DE EN FI FR GA GR HR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SE SK SV

The SHARE initiative has equally developed a capacity-building programme aiming to help local partners (public authorities or the sport movement) to shape sport-driven local development strategies, and make the most of existing funding. The programme has revealed a real need across regions in Europe to create or deepen the knowledge on the role of sport to regional development on one hand and to empower local and regional stakeholders to develop sport-based initiatives with ESIF on the other hand.

Good practice examples related to the development of sport projects with EU Structural and Investment Funds are pooled in an online database which can be accessed here. We aim to constantly update the good practice examples with recent or ongoing projects throughout Europe.

The work in SHARE is widely disseminated in the platform through various communication channels:

The SHARE initiative is a partnership-driven platform. Its strength derives from its supporters’ engagement and a knowledge hub of relevant organisations, initiatives and networks: we are working with a myriad of different types of organisations, including primarily the sport movement, cities, regions, universities, SMEs and business support organisations (such as clusters) which are essential parts of the sport and physical activity tissue across Europe.

SHARE is continuously building bridges between these different stakeholders and it welcomes any like-minded initiatives, projects or organisations to join!

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