Sport organization in Sweden

12 November 2018
Sport organization in Sweden

 1. Sport organization in Sweden

1.1. Quick facts about Sweden

Sweden is the largest Nordic country occupying the biggest part of Scandinavian Peninsula.

According the Worldometers’[1] RTS algorithm the current population of Sweden is 10,008,397 as of Saturday, November 10, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. According to the same statistics :

-The population density in Sweden is 24 per Km2(63 people per mi2).

-The total landarea is 410,340 Km2 (158,433 sq. miles)

-5 %of the population is urban (8,535,204 people in 2018)

-The median agein Sweden is 9 years.

Sweden is the one of the world most actively sporting nations with 635.5 Olympic medals in total and ranked 9th in the All time Olympic gold medal table. According to the website of the Swedish Sport Confederation ( almost half of the Sweden’s ten million inhabitants between the ages of 7 and 70 are members of a sports club – as active competitors, keep-fitters, trainers and supporters. It is a sporting miracle that such a small country as territory has contributed innumerable stars to the world sport. “Ingemar Johansson, Gert Fredriksson, Nils Liedholm, Björn Borg, Ingemar Stenmark, Anders Gärde- rud, Gunde Svan, Pernilla Wiberg and Jan-Ove Waldner have for ever carved their names into the Swedish soul. In recent years stars such as Peter Forsberg, Annika Sörenstam, Kajsa Bergqvist, Stefan Holm, Anja Pärson, Niklas Lidström, Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovich in international arenas “( Swedish Sport movement is inherited  through Swedish cultural traditions and is a main part of Swedish national identity. The Swedish sports organizational model is famous as “Scandinavian” or  “Nordic” model.  The main feature of these models is that sport is organized as an independent voluntary movement. Voluntary and membership based club sport is the main characteristic of the sport system in the Nordic countries[2] as well as a main part of the Swedish society[3] . Due to the tradition of long time of collaboration with central government and local authorities the sports movement had been entrusted with the task of organizing sport in Sweden with the help of authorities.

Local clubs are the backbone of all organized sport in Sweden. “And so it is the primary task of support organizations in the sports movement to create the essential conditions for a successful club. Matters to be dealt with include grants, tax regulations, sports grounds and facilities, development of club democracy and leadership training. The executive committee is, apart from the General Assembly, the most important organ of the local sports club.“( Swedish sport system is a democratic sport system. The members of a sport club in Sweden actually own the club. “It is the members who determine, at the club’s annual general meeting, what the club is to do and how meeting there are reports from the executive about the previous year’s activities and about how the executive has discharged its duties. The annual general meeting concludes with the members deciding who is to be entrusted with running the club until the next annual meeting. The basic principle is that each member has one vote.”  ( Each club members in a sport federation. The sport federations are members of the Swedish Sport Confederation.  

The Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) is an umbrella organization consisting of 69 special sports federations (e.g. football, tennis, swimming ) and 21 district sports federations, and approximately 20,000 sport clubs with about 650,000 volunteers such as leaders, trainers or coaches. One of the main goals of the Swedish Sports Confederation is to promote lifelong participation in sport clubs.


1.2 Swedish Sport Confederation

The Swedish Sports Confederation (Swedish: Riksidrottsförbundet, RF) is the umbrella organisation of the Swedish sports movement.  Through its member organisations, it has three million members in 22 000 clubs (Centrum for idrottsforskning 2018).

The Confederation was formed on 31 May 1903. Its present chairman, since 2015, is Björn Eriksson.

According to the authors of the book “ Sport in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries” (mentioned at the end of section 1 of the  report) the main tasks of the Swedish Sport confederations are the following ones:

Representing club sport in communication with the authorities and surrounding society; servicing and distributing government funds to the affiliated organisations; stimulating sports development and research; coordinating social and ethical issues;.

According to the website the main acticvities of the Swedish Sport Confederation are :

-Speak on behalf of the united sports movement in contacts with politicians, the government and other institutions/organisations;

-Coordinate the sports movement in fields like research and development;

-Provide service in areas where these cannot or don't want to build up their own competence;

-In certain areas act in place of the government, e.g. through distributing governmental grants to sports;


69 Special sport federations and 21 district sport federations member in Swedish Sport Confederation. They can be called multisport federations covering a large number of different sports, for example the Swedish Sports Organization for the Disabled.

According to their site election to membership of the Swedish Sports Confederation requires nomination and approval by the General Assembly of the Swedish Sports Confederation. Certain formal requirements must be met. The association must be/ have: A minimum of 25 member clubs and 1500 members.

According to the above mentioned website half of the member federations, 35 of 69) not only belong to the Swedish Sports Confederation; if their sport is featured at the Olympic Games they are also members of the Swedish Olympic Committee which administers Swedish participation at the Olympic games for which it receives financial support via the Swedish Sports Confederation’s Government grant.

1.3. Swedish Olympic Committee/from Wikipedia/ the free encyclopedia

The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC) (Swedish: Sveriges Olympiska Kommitté (SOK)) is the Swedish National Olympic Committee (NOC). The Swedish Olympic Committee organize the Swedish participation in the Olympics, choose the participants and run the "Elitprogrammet".


1.4 The Swedish Para sports Federation – from Wikipedia/the free encyclopedia

 (Swedish: Svenska parasportförbundet), earlier the Swedish Sports Organization for the Disabled ((Swedish: Svenska handikappidrottsförbundet)) (SHIF) and later the Swedish Sports Organization for the Disabled and Swedish Paralympic Committee ((Swedish: Svenska handikappidrottsförbundet och Sveriges paralympiska kommitté)) (SHIF/SPK) is the umbrella organization for  disability sports in Sweden. It is the National Paralympic Committee in Sweden for the Paralympic Games movement. It's a non-profit organisation that selects teams, and raises funds to send Swedish competitors to Paralympic events organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The organisation was founded in 1969, and became a member of the Swedish Sports Confederation the same year.

  1. SISU – Swedish sport education

Swedish sport has its own education organization. Its main aim is to cater for the needs of clubs and special sports federations in training and referees. One often-used methodology is the study-circle, which is based on the concept of a syllabus being followed by a group of
club members who share their knowledge and experience. It is led not by a teacher but by one of the participants. SISU Sports Education is also an internal consultant for member federations and clubs in process management. Since 1992 SISU Sports Education Sport Books has been a publisher in the physical titles. SISU Sports Education Sport Books also runs a book club with approximately 15 000 members. SISU Sports Education is also responsible for the Bosön Education Centre.

Bosön – the heart of Swedish sports training and education
Bosön – Swedish National Sports Centre – is the meeting place for sport leaders, athletes, national teams and clubs.



Sport Policy in Sweden , Jozef Fahlen & Secilia Stenling, p.515-531, published online 02.July.2015


“Contemporary sport policy in Sweden is the result of a century-long relationship between national and local governments and voluntary, non-profit and membership-based club sport which has resulted in extensive financial support to organised sport. The relationship is defined by an  ‘implicit contract’ in which the government decides on the extent and the purpose of the funding, and the recipient, the Swedish Sports Confederation, determines the details of the distribution and administration. These funds are distributed to 20,164 sport clubs and their 3,147,000 members in exchange for the realisation of social policies on public health and the fostering of democratic citizens. While an important cornerstone of the relationship has been the autonomy and self-determination of the recipient of the funds in their capacities as civil society organisations, recent decades have witnessed an increase in demands on performance outputs. These demands have explicated a wider social responsibility for organised sport and entailed a system for follow-up and control of the results of the government support via key performance indicators. In these ways, the corporatist agreement and consensus traditionally characterising the public–civil society interaction has been accompanied by governing mechanisms associated with neo-liberal ideologies which in turn are putting the sustainability of the implicit contract to the test.”


Sport in Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries [4]

1st Edition

Ken Green, Thorsteinn Sigurjónsson, Eivind Åsrum Skille

Published October 9, 2018 
Reference - 208 Pages - 116 B/W Illustrations 
ISBN 9781138052154 - CAT# Y330913




  1. Swedish National Guidelines for elite athletes’ dual careers (SNGEADC)

The combination of high – performance sport (or elite sport) and higher education is the main focus of the EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes which provide the European main stakeholders such as politicians, education institutions, sorts federations and clubs and employers’ organisations with minimum standards and guidelines for the implementation of athletes’ dual careers. According to the document mentioned above “In international terms, Sweden is a model of organised support for dual career athletes at the gymnasium level (upper secondary school) using financial and legal con- tracts. Since 1965, the Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) has led the way with its national system for the promotion of high-performance sport and gymnasium-level study in the shape of National Elite Sports Gymnasiums (RIG) and Nationally Approved Sports Programmes (NIU). The system reflects the official sports policy for the twenty-first century, where ‘the key idea behind the Swedish model is that elite athletes should be able to proceed with a normal life once their sporting careers are over”.  Since 2011  the Swedish Sport Confederation has been in dialogue with the sports movement and education sys- tem, leading to the launch in 2015 of the Swedish National Sports Universities (Rik- sidrottsuniversiteten or RIUs) and Elite Sports-Friendly Universities (Elitidrottsvänliga lärosäten or EVLs).

The Swedish dual career model showing the dual career pathways and transitions in a Swedish context shows perfectly clear the concept behind the Swedish National Guidelines for DCA.

            3.1. The system of Swedish National Sports Universities (RIUs) and Elite Sports-Friendly Universities (EVLs)

( according the SNGEADC document


At the meeting of the Swedish Sports Confederation Board (RS) in December 2014, the first tentative steps were taken to combine elite sports and university education in Sweden. Commissioned by the Swedish Sports Confederation General Assembly (RIM) in 2011 and 2013, RS had decided to kick-start the process of developing the Swedish National Sports Universities (RIUs) and the Elite Sports-Friendly Universities (EVLs). For the 2015–2018 contract period, the RS appointed three RIUs and eleven EVLs:

The RIUs were Umeå University (Umeå); the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm); and University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg).

The EVLs were the universities of Dalarna, Jönköping, Halmstad, Karlstad, Linköping, Linnaeus, Malmö, Mid Sweden, Örebro, Stockholm, and Uppsala.

The meeting of the RS in November 2017 invited applications to become RIUs or EVLs for the period 2018–2022 from the following institutions:

As RIUs, the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and KTH Royal Institute of Technology; and University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Techno- logy; Halmstad University and Malmö University; Mid Sweden University; and Umeå University.

As EVLs, Blekinge Institute of Technology, the universities of Dalarna, Jönköping, Kristianstad, Karlstad, Linköping, Linnaeus, Mälardalen, Örebro, and University West.

 -The Swedish organisational model for RIUs and EVLs, and dual careers

The Swedish national model for organizing the dual careers of elite athletes in RIUs and EVLs consists of four major areas for the contract period of 2018-2022:

-Education – the possibility of flexible studies for elite athletes;

-Elite sports - development environments for elite sports in collaboration with national sports federations.

-Education initiatives—strategic education initiatives in collaboration with RF.

-Research and development—collaboration between the universities and sports movement on applied research and development.


1)Education - Flexible studies, with individual rates of study, lectures, and exams.

2) Elite sports

-A development environment for elite sports in collaboration with national sports federations

 -Collaboration between academia and sport.

-Support from networks of experts in, for example, physiology, medicine, psychology, and nutrition, as well as opportunities for testing.

3) Balancing sport, study, and private life

-Integrated dual career support from both sports and university staff.

-A holistic approach to student–athletes’ development.

-Develop student–athletes’ dual career competences.

-A network for student–athletes to give a greater sense of community.

4) Career transitions into and out of RIUs or EVLs, between universities (for example, from an EVL to an RIU), and athletic career termination.

A proactive, supportive perspective to facilitate student–athletes’ career transi- tions.

Education initiatives: To undertake an education initiative of this kind is, in collabo- ration with RF, to lead and develop strategic education initiatives to meet the edu- cational needs of Swedish sport as defined by the RF. Examples of educational initi- atives include sports coaching degrees, DC coordinator training, elite coach training (ETU), child and youth coach training (BTU), and sports psychologist training with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

3.3 Defining RIUs and EVLs according the above mentioned NSGEADC document:

The RIUs and EVLs give athletes, defined by sports federations as potential or current members of a national team, the opportunity to combine high-performance sport with studies at a specific university. To this end, RF has agreed the following definitions:

An EVL is a university that offers student–athletes an environment where they can pursue dual careers. This means that

an EVL should support student–athletes in balancing studies, sport, and private life and in managing their career transitions;

an EVL offers flexible studies to student–athletes, and a development environment for elite sports for student–athletes in collaboration with the relevant sports federation/clubs; and

an EVL has a dual career coordinator to lead and develop DC activities and ensure their quality, in the light of the national guidelines for elite athletes’ dual careers.

EVLs can conduct research and/or offer an education in collaboration with RF and/ or sports federations in areas of relevance to Swedish high-performance sport. EVLs are appointed and contracted by RF for a number of years, with support from RF in according on the scope of their operations, and possible support from the district and region and the relevant sports federations.

An RIU is made up of one or more universities that offer the full range of activities in the model for the organisation of RIUs and EVLs and dual careers). This means that the RIUs should cover all the same points as the EVLs; as part of their official mission must conduct sports science research and offer an education of immediate relevance to Swedish elite sports; and

are tasked by RF with collaborating on any of the strategic education initiatives that RF chooses to implement.

RIUs are contracted by RF on a multi-year basis, with RF’s support according to the scope of the RIUs’ activities and any education initiatives, and with the possible support of the district and region and the relevant sports federations. Each university is entitled to use the specially designed RIU logo.


Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs

  1. Work to raise awareness and understanding among staff and other stake- holders and collaborative partners of the Swedish organisational model for RIUs, EVLs, and dual careers.
  2. Work to establish a positive attitude among the university leadership to- wards elite athletes combining high-performance sport with a university education.
  3. Work with RF to improve student–athletes’ financial situation.


3.4 Facilitating the environment for Dual career of athletes according

The dual career development environment model is adapted to the Swedish university context. It is intended to facilitate a holistic approach to student–athletes’ development, charting the various stakeholders and relationships involved in facilitating an environment for dual careers.

The dual career development environment model is a framework for describing the environment’s key roles, functions, and components and their interrelations, set in a broader sociocultural context. It is a heuristic working model that reflects the specificities of Swedish sport, education, and society, designed to guide assessments of the organisation and functioning of different dual career development environments.

A pilot study has identified the following characteristics of a dual career development environment at a Swedish university: (1) sports and university staff coordinate and integrate their efforts to facilitate the students’ dual careers; (2) flexible stud- ies are built into the educational programme; (3) student–athletes form a cohesive group; (4) there is access to high-quality coaching, expert support, and facilities as part of a development environment for elite sports, within a community supporting the sport; (5) support providers (sport and study) share a basic philosophy (for example, a holistic approach, a focus on long-term development, an emphasis on transfer- able skills between sports and university/working life, and the cross-fertilisation of sport and education); (6) the clear and explicit responsibility of each member of the support staff for their individual areas, but shared responsibility for the whole; and (7) knowledge transfer, with opportunities for elite student athletes to learn from one another (for example, group training with athletes from other sports, student mentorships, and direct access to role models).

The Erasmus+ Project ‘Ecology of Dual Career—Exploring Dual Career Development Environments across Europe’, aim to study dual career development environments across Europe in 2018–2019 in order to provide recommendations for their optimisation, which will be very useful for the continued development of this in Sweden.

Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs (continued)

  1. Work to raise awareness among student–athletes, support staff, and other stakeholders of the dual career development environment for stu- dent–athletes and the role they have in it.
  2. Work to appoint DC coordinators to coordinate efforts across the dual career development environment as a whole.4
  3. Work to participate in a network of DC support staff (for example, DC co- ordinators and DC support providers) to promote the exchange of knowl- edge, experience, and best practices.

3.5 Individual study programs, distance – learning, flexible exams  according the NSDEADC, described as above.

Many student–athletes will need an individual programme of study: for those who intend to study at a different pace to the syllabus, they will need one that specifies when they are to take the various course components. In practical terms, an individual programme of study makes it possible for student–athletes to take even the programmes and courses that do not normally offer the opportunity to study at a slower pace. Students may need to study intensively at certain points of the year and less so at others in order for their combination of high-performance sport and university education to work.

An individual programme of study is a mutual agreement between the student–ath- lete and the university, and should be signed by both the student and the study coun- sellor (or equivalent). It is important that the parties are agreed on the conditions that apply in an individual programme of study.

Good practices

Practical example

At the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, the Vice-Chancellor has ordered that elite athletes fall under the ‘special reasons’ quota for work placement training and approved leave.

Practical example

A student–athlete studying medicine at Umeå University did part of his clinical placement in Colombia, where the climate and training opportunities for his sport were excellent. A student–athlete studying Civil Engineering did an MA dissertation in Prague when she spent a season competing there, but she was supervised from Umeå.

Practical example

Umeå University has amended its rules for placements and study elsewhere so that where there is competition for placements, student–athletes are included in one of the priority groups.

Practical example

As part of Halmstad University’s Professional Career in Sport and Working Life programme, all course components are filmed and made accessible to stu- dent–athletes on a digital learning platform. The filmed components have not brought a fall in on-campus attendance.

Practical example

Halmstad University’s Professional Career in Sport and Working Life pro- gramme uses a flexible ‘digital presence’ for compulsory seminars, whereby off-campus students arrange with their on-campus coursemates to attend via their tablets or similar, having communicated this to the lecturer beforehand.

Practical example

Umeå University has complemented its existing exam regulations with a policy for the combination of high-performance sport and university education. The policy describes what examiners and lecturers can do to adapt exams to meet student–athletes’ needs.

Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs (continued)

  1. Work to adopt a university policy for the combination of high-perfor- mance sport and a university education, including how exams can be adapted for student–athletes under university exam regulations.
  2. Work to establish an agreement or contract between university and stu- dent–athlete that sets out both parties’ rights and obligations, and states what is expected of both in order for the combination of high-perfor- mance sport and a university education to succeed.
  3. Work to increase staff awareness (for example, lecturers, examiners, study counsellors) of various measures to adapt university studies to the needs of student–athletes.
  4. Work to facilitate student–athletes’ responsibility by presenting them with learning opportunities in, for example, planning, advance prepara- tion, and communication.
  5. Work to put student–athletes on a par with other students who have an adapted university education on special grounds (for example, work placement training).
  6. Work to establish, on a needs basis, an individual programme of study for those student-athletes who cannot keep pace with a university pro- gramme or course.
  7. Work to increase the opportunities for flexible studies by


  1. making all course information and teaching materials available online,

for example on a learning platform;

  1. encouraging lecturers to record and broadcast their lectures (including

on-campus courses); and

  1. allowing student–athletes to participate in seminars using video con-

ferencing when they cannot attend in person because of their sport;.

  1. Work to develop distance or online courses in areas relevant to high-per- formance sport or student–athletes.
  2. Work to establish a network of contacts at the RIUs and EVLs to enable students to sit exams away from their home university.
  3. Work to established exchange programmes with universities abroad where high-performance sport can be combined with a university edu- cation.

3.6 Organising development environment for elite sport

Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs (continued)

  1. Work to have formal contracts between RIUs and EVLs and various stake- holders to organise a development environment for elite sports appropri- ate to local conditions, including sports federations, local authorities and county councils, regional sports federations, sports clubs, sports gymna- siums (RIG/NIU), and the Swedish Olympic Committee and the Swedish Paralympic Committee.
  2. Work to have a local or regional development environment for dual ca- reers (for example, for age 16 and up), to involve several levels of ed- ucation and several sports, in a collaboration between a university, gymnasiums (RIG/NIU), sports federations, sports clubs, regional sports federations, and local authorities or county councils.
  3. Work to promote the establishment of good development environments for elite sports
    1. with student–athletes’ coaches who have both a sports coaching de- gree and the highest coach certification from the relevant sports fed- eration;
    2. with access to full sports facilities for elite athletes in conjunction with other stakeholders (for example, local authorities, sports federations, sports clubs);
    3. byestablishingandcoordinatinganetworkofexpertsinrelevantareas and enabling student–athletes to access that support; and
    4. by enabling student–athletes to complete various tests and offering training in test analysis and evaluation as part of their individual devel- opment plans.
  4. Work under the aegis of the Swedish Sports Confederation to establish national standards for expert support staff to ensure they have the nec- essary education and competence to work with student–athletes at the RIUs and EVLs, and to establish a national network of expert support staff to promote the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practice.

3.7. Facilitating the balance between sport, education and private life


Illustrative examples

In consultation with her lecturer, a student–athlete chooses a study group to join on the basis of the course timetable and her training and competition schedule. This flexibility removes the difficulties the student had in taking that particular course.

An student–athlete is unable to attend a number of lectures because of his training schedule. The course coordinator tells him to ask a coursemate for the lecture notes, and to ask the lecturers if it would be possible for a coursemate to record the lectures for him. The lecturers agree, on condition that the stu- dent only has them for his personal use, and does not share them in any form.

An student–athlete has been competing at an international championship and arrives home late on the Sunday night. She has an exam first thing on Monday morning. Sunday’s flight home was a long one, so she will only have a few hours of sleep. It would have been better to ask at the planning stage whether she could sit the exam on another occasion in order to have time to recover and do her best in the exam.

Illustrative examples

A basketball coach starts to encourage players to study, and on the way to and from matches several of the players choose to study on the team bus rather than watch the film. The team ethos shifts to welcome study alongside its athletic ambitions, which leads several players to consider going to university.

A couple of football players prioritise a university exam over football training. The coach punishes the players by benching them for the next match, even though in performance terms they should play.

3.7.1. Dual career support providers

It was also found that DCSPs across Europe felt the need to improve their ability: (i) to prepare student–athletes for the challenges of specific transitions; (ii) to encourage autonomy among student–athletes; (iii) to understand how the key transition phases contribute to student–athletes’ long-term development; (iv) to be alert to student–athletes’ mental health status; (v) to equip student–athletes with the nec- essary competences to plan their lives and be more organised; (vi) to make student– athletes aware of their dual career competences; and (vii) to take a holistic approach to student–athletes’ lives (their sports and studies in parallel with their financial, psychological, and psychosocial development).

Practical example

Umeå University offers training for study counsellors and other university staff in collaboration with its Centre for Educational Development. The course is designed to increase their understanding of flexible studies and what dual ca- reers can entail.

3.7.2. Student – athlete dual career networks

Student–athletes at any given university are often scattered across different pro- grammes and courses. In order to instil a sense of community in student–athletes, it is useful to create a forum where they can meet and share experiences. A network can give student–athletes the chance to help one another, form closer relationships, swap experiences about combining elite sports and university education, and learn from one another’s sports. If it offers mentoring it can improve the knowledge trans- fer about dual careers at that particular university from one cohort to the next, and even if not it can help student–athletes understand how dual careers function in comparison to what they were used to before, and thus add to the local dual career culture. A student–athlete network can also be a conduit for their views to the uni- versity, identifying and discussing the local problems and challenges with combining high-performance sport and university education.

Practical example

Umeå University offers training for study counsellors and other university staff in collaboration with its Centre for Educational Development. The course is designed to increase their understanding of flexible studies and what dual ca- reers can entail.

Practical example

All student–athletes at Halmstad University are members of a network and an online community on a social media platform. The student–athlete network is a forum for the exchange of views and news, and arranges talks on relevant sports issues and dual careers.

Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs (continued)

  1. Work to facilitate student–athletes’ dual career balance by
    1. raising awareness of student–athletes’ dual career competences, and

of the challenges facing them in their dual careers;

  1. helping student–athletes to develop their dual career competences

(for example, stress management, planning and prioritisation, form- ing trust-based relationships, and working with sports and university staff);

  1. promoting an understanding that dual careers can have a positive ef- fect on student–athletes’ study and sports performance alike.
  1. Work with sports federations and sports clubs to increase lecturers’ and coaches’ understanding of student–athletes’ dual careers and the long- term benefits of dual careers, in order to promote an integrated approach and consistent communication between sports and university staff.
  2. Work with the RF to establish and develop
    1. the role of Dual career support providers (DCSP) at all RIUs and EVLs;


  1. DCSP training for DC coordinators, study counsellors, and others at the

RIUs and EVLs.

  1. Work to establish student–athlete networks to instil a sense of commu- nity that enables mentoring, knowledge transfer, and the exchange of experiences between student–athletes pursuing different university pro- grammes, courses, and sports.
  2. Work to identify the particular needs of student–athletes who require special support and flexible arrangements. For student–parathletes, as for any students with a permanent disability, work to plan and agree indi- vidual, long-term support that reflects the nature of the disability and the student–parathlete’s individual needs.


3.8. Facilitating Student – athlete career transitions

3.8.1. Transition to University

Practical example

The School of Sports Science (IH) at Umeå University collaborates with local gymnasiums (for example, by having representatives on school boards) and invites gymnasium students for visits and open days, where students receive information on sports education, university, dual careers, and the contract in place between each student–athlete and IH on admission. Prospective stu- dents also visit the sports environment at IKSU Sport and the university sports lab, and attend a special lecture given by a member of the IH support team. Similar visits are also arranged for sports clubs, open to pupils, parents, and coaches. Each term there are lectures for student–athletes on subjects such as dual career balance, or how to set goals and evaluate their own training. One of the main reasons is to provide a forum where student–athletes can meet and discuss their particular situation, combining sport and a university education.

3.8.2. Transition upon graduation

Practical examples

At the universities of Gothenburg and Chalmers, alumni are invited to break- fast meetings that are open to all. RIUs alumni students give talks for stu- dent–athletes about their own experiences, about combining university and sport, and the importance of having career alternatives for when their athletic career ends. The university media also report on RIU alumni.

The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences holds careers fairs where stu- dent–athletes can connect with potential employers from among the business community.

3.8.3. Athletic career termination

Practical examples

Umeå University offers its student–athletes individual consultations to discuss their post-athletic career plans and to identify the individual’s strengths. There are also lectures on the importance of being aware that their athletic careers might soon end, and how this transition might affect them emotionally.

At the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, when student–athletes choose to change career their study counsellors and careers advisors focus on the reasons they chose sport in the first place and what kept them motivated, so that the focus shifts to identifying where students might find fresh impe- tus when they end their athletic careers. At the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, such transitions frequently benefit from the fact that courses at the university are a way to stay in sport once they have ended their sports careers.

            3.9. A national online support for dual career services

Given the Swedish dual career model (see Figure 1) and the various career transi- tions, there is a clear need for transition-specific support services to facilitate stu- dent–athletes’ career development. The GEES project results show that DCSPs find it difficult to fully prepare student–athletes for the challenges of specific transitions, because they do not fully understand where the transition phases fit in relation to the student–athletes’ long-term development.[18] Individualised support that responds to the differing needs of student–athletes before, during, or after various career tran- sitions is necessarily extensive. It needs to be cost-effective in order to be sustainable in the long run, and it should be open and accessible to all. One possible solution is thus to coordinate a service, which would be beyond what any one institution alone could provide: a national online support service for dual careers, which student–ath- letes, sports staff, and university staff (such as DC coordinators and DCSPs) could use as a platform for sharing information and developing competences.

A national online support service for dual careers could be the Swedish transition hub, bringing together universities and the sports movement; a site where poten- tial and current student–athletes (and support staff) can find information on career transitions (for example, on athletic career termination or when injured), expert networks (for example, sport psychologists or physiotherapist), and develop the ba- sic knowledge and competences needed to manage a career transition of this kind. With such a hub, universities could give users access to existing resources online, share teaching material, run joint online training courses, and share examples of best practice, in order to encourage equivalence in the support given to student–athletes across Sweden.

Guidelines for RIUs and EVLs (continued)

  1. Work to raise awareness of current and future career transitions—as when beginning at an RIU or EVL, graduating, transferring from one university to another (for example, from an EVL to an RIU), or on athletic career termination—and how student–athletes can prepare, for example by career planning and competence development.
  2. Work to facilitate student–athletes’ coping with the transition to an RIU

or EVL by increasing their awareness, competence, and motivation by

  1. collaborating with gymnasiums on open days, information meetings,

and mentoring; and

  1. inviting student–athletes to relevant training on dual careers (see also

Guidelines 11 & 21).

  1. Work to facilitate student–athletes’ career transitions at graduation by
    1. promoting proactive, strategic thinking among student–athletes who are about to graduate, looking at what they need in order to prepare

for working life or continuing in high-performance sport;

  1. establishing alumni networks for student–athletes; and
  2. facilitating graduates continuing with elite sport at their university lo-


  1. Work to facilitate student–athletes’ coping with athletic career termina- tion, for example by
    1. setting up routines to draw attention to student–athletes who are ap-

proaching athletic career termination, and enabling access to help and

support if necessary; and

  1. increasing awareness among student–athletes about their transferable skills which are applicable in other contexts
  1. Work to provide support, on a needs basis, for student–athletes who prove unable to manage a transition successfully, for example by pro- viding support staff at the university who have the relevant skills, or by referring them to other professionals as and when needed (for example, psychologists or psychotherapist).
  2. Work to establish an national online support service for dual careers, which student–athletes, sports staff, and university staff (for example, DC coordinators and DCSPs) can use as a platform for sharing information and developing competences.








[2] Bainer, 2010

[3] Fahle.n, 2015

[4] Fahlén, Josef & Stenling, Cecilia. (2015). Sport policy in Sweden. International Journal of Sport Policy. 10.1080/19406940.2015.1063530.