Sport and the Swedish Welfare State

Authored by: Susanna Hedenborg , Tomas Peterson

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679


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In Sweden the majority of all children and young people participate in organised sports. Approximately 20,000 sport clubs in the country are affiliated with the Swedish Sport Confederation (SSC). Voluntarism characterises the work done by the approximately 650,000 unpaid coaches and leaders within the SSC. The Swedish government supports the SSC financially with an annual 1.7 billion SKR so as to enable the SSC to organise sporting activities, especially for children and young people. The SSC has a strong position in Swedish society, and is largely autonomous from the state (Norberg 2002; SOU 2008: 59). The Swedish Olympic Committee organises Swedish participation in the Olympic Games. Support for Swedish elite sports is, however, relatively small. With the exception of an allocation of the Olympic Games in Stockholm (1912), a talent development program (1998–2004) and an elite support program (2009) the Swedish government has not given extra support to elite sport. Instead decisions about investments in elite sport have been taken within the SSC.

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