Guide with the analysis
In the national level questionnaires the majority of respondents indicated that their countries have signed and ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, it should be noted that in this issue, although 3 countries responded that they have not signed or ratified the CRPD, they did, in fact, ratify it.
In this respect, it may be revealing that in some countries the CRPD itself is not sufficiently widespread and therefore may be unknown to many civil society actors. If this is the case, it may be indicative of a poor implementation of the measures envisaged in the CRPD, emphasizing the need for greater cross-compliance in all EU countries.
Regarding the constitution of each country, 52,4% of the countries said that their national constitution included a specific article to guarantee the right to participate in sport and physical activity, whereas the other 47,6%, their national constitution do not mention specifically sport and physical activity, as well as the majority presents a specific article that guarantees the right of persons with disabilities to access and practice sport and physical activity.
Answer to the question:
Does your country have any specific article in the Constitution that guarantees the right to physical activity and sport?
Despite the fact that sport is only specifically addressed in 50% of the constitutions, 75% of the respondents affirm that the constitutions safeguard the right of persons with disabilities to access physical activity and sport services. Most countries on the European Level Questionnaire affirmed that their organisational policies/statutes mentioned human rights principles and/or the inclusion of persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups.
In addition, most respondents stated that their country has a set of rules and regulations in the field of sport and physical activity, specific articles in the field of persons with disabilities in the basic law of sport and other different sectors for persons with disabilities that aim to participate through sport and physical activity.
It should be noted that 47,6% of the countries reported that they did not have specific articles aimed at the physical activity of the population in their constitution, which contrasts with the fact that 88,2% of the respondents state that there is a set of legislation that regulates physical activity and sport for persons with disabilities. This may have different readings, or a lack of awareness of the larger laws of each country in some of the responses, such as the signing and ratification of the CRPD, or, because each country’s policy is very different.
Regarding athlete’s governance, we have identified different organisations leading national promotion and implementation according to the different levels of participation in sport. For instance, elite athletes with disabilities are predominantly governed by the National Paralympic Committee; athletes with disabilities that practice sport at recreational level are governed by sport federations or other structures that promote sport for all; and athletes who are integrated in the competitive federation formal framework are governed by both disability-specific sport federations and mainstream sport federations.
Many countries seem to be in the process of transition from disability-specific federations towards disability inclusion in mainstream sport federations, which is a fact to be highlighted. As regards levels of implementation, it is clear that the responsibility for promoting sport for all at national, regional and local level is largely the responsibility of sports organizations, followed by government structures. However, it is interesting to note that the distribution of responsibilities between government structures, non-governmental organisations and sports organisations is very similar at local, regional and national levels.
Concerning the organizations involved in good practices, it was found that the majority is not-for-profit, most of which have fields of action centered on clubs and education. Most of the practices presented are involved in other national, municipal or other programs, most of which are carried out on a regular basis and with a predominantly local and regional level of implementation.
Taking into account the limitations of the sample obtained, the results are examples of the current situation. However, the fact that they are not-for-profit bodies promoting the overwhelming majority of examples of good practice reveals the importance of civil society in promoting sport for all and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. It is important that in the definition of the inclusion sports policies, all aspects that are centered around this type of local and community entities, without profit objectives and with concerns promoting participation and equal opportunities, are considered.