CONCLUSIONS: Key finding and lessons


The European Sport Model for Inclusion

The great objective which remains to be put into practice is the fact that the European Commission recognizes that “Persons with disabilities have the right to participate on an equal basis with others in sporting activities” as provided in point 2.5 of “Social inclusion in and through sport” from the literary work “Developing the European Dimension in Sport” (2011, p.6).

The great lesson to be learned from the Model and for the Guide is the need to educate society at large about the idea that inclusion means placing athletes with and without disabilities side by side, competing, and only after identifying who was the winner, draw the conclusion and verify if is possible or not. History has proven that between Paris, France in 1900 Summer Olympic Games and Brazil, Rio 2016, athletes with disabilities have participated in the Olympic Games and many of them, won medals.

But inclusion and participation (recognized by the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee), the merger, a joint administration of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (1991), the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (2019) and the “Integration of Disabled and Deaf Athletes into Mainstreaming Sport in Norway” (which resulted in the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports in 2007) are few of the good examples of what inclusion might be. A “European Sport Model for Inclusion” and the “Guide(s) for Implementation of the European Sport Model for Inclusion” should be seen as facilitators of inclusion and participation in sport.

The output 1 review and output 2 agree on the need, in terms of the political system, to reinforce in the National Constitutions the introduction of specific articles about disability and sport, which provide not only for the right to participate but also for the role of state in supporting this.

The outputs also agree on the importance of introducing into the political and legislative system a law on habilitation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities.


The outputs agree with the proposal to create the “European Model for Inclusion in Sport” as they recognize that the current “European Sport Model” doesn’t favour the participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in sport. In addition, there is the difficulty created in the sports system due to the variety, multiplicity and complexity of governance and management of the structures existing in the member states, as well as the need to create a new structure at local level with a transectoral, horizontal and vertical articulation between Government and Non-Governmental Sectors.

The European Model for Inclusion in Sport is based at the local level, a structure built by local authorities in the Sports, Education, Health and Municipalities and Sports Clubs sectors.

The Model focuses in a holistic perspective on persons with disabilities. It advocates local intervention without neglecting the global, whether nationally, in Europe or globally. The creation of objective and subjective conditions of access and participation takes into account barriers/obstacles (negative aspects) and facilitators (positive aspects), according to the three levels: individual, social and environmental. Ensuring full participation will take into account four factors: first addressing people’s interests and motivations, second adapting activities to their capacities, third the health and safety of those involved, and fourthly enabling them to achieve goals and successful participation.

An important part of the implementation guidelines of the model, is the realization of awareness raising actions, which include information, training, dissemination, demonstration and experimentation that should be common and transversal to all sectors.

The Implementation Guide for the Health Sector provides for three dimensions of intervention. The first is to advise and refer persons with disabilities to physical activity and sports. The second in prescribing physical activity according to WHO recommendations. The third in the creation of integrated sport responses in the Therapeutic Rehabilitation and Social Inclusion Program into and through Sport.


The Implementation Guide for the Education Sector provides for the required education period (0-18 years old) has three intervention dimensions. One within the range of awareness. The second is the inclusion and participation in physical education classes, for example by adapting exercises for children with disabilities (see Output 3). The third is to stimulate and facilitate participation in School Sports. Furthermore, in higher education, the participation in University Sports.

The Implementation Guides for Municipalities and national sports federations also have three dimensions of intervention. One in the context of awareness. The second stage of the technical, human, material and financial support that municipalities can provide to citizens and to the local and private entities that support persons with disabilities. The third is the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in programs that the respective entities promote and develop.

The Implementation Guide for Sports Clubs consists of three major areas of intervention. The first is in the field of awareness. The second is through participation in the promotion and development of Basic and High Performance Sport. The third is through the participation of persons with disabilities as a sports agent, volunteer or professional, without management of sports organizations.