Utrecht University research shows: Eredivisie clubs live up to 'More than football' claim

This morning, the 'Eredivisie Social Impact Report 2021/2022' was presented at the 'More than Football' conference. One of the results from this survey is that football clubs managed to engage nearly half a million participants through 153 different, social projects with their projects in Coronavirus year 2021/'22.

Researchers from the Department of Management and Organisational Science (USBO) at Utrecht University, commissioned by the Eredivisie CV (ECV), provided insight into the scope and impact of all social projects of the 18 Eredivisie clubs.

Jan-Willem van der Roest, USBO researcher: "Together with the Eredivisie CV, our ambition is to increase the positive social impact through a structured plan - in which clubs are encouraged to think about the strategy and impact of social projects - and innovative monitoring tools."

"We do this using the Theory of Change (ToC) approach and associated training courses, whereby the club's public values (the impact) with the actions taken through the projects are linked. This helps the club consider how it wants to and can make the intended impact and what relevant data to collect."

Sustainability, connection and health

With more than 8 million fans, 18 unique brands and many role models, the Eredivisie has - besides a sporting value - a great social value. The ECV and the Eredivisie football clubs have been committed to various objectives through social projects for years. Three key pillars of the ECV are: sustainability, connection and health.

"The report shows that the Eredivisie clubs have actually gone beyond the claim of 'more than football'. We help people get a bit of direction. Football contributes to social cohesion, we encourage eating healthy and getting exercise, and we are committed to sustainability. Football reaches people who are difficult to reach or even out of the of the reach of other institutions. That is precisely the strength of football. Top sport and social responsibility therefore go hand in hand," said Jan de Jong, director Eredivisie CV.

Next step in professionalising the CSR policy

The impact report provides Eredivisie clubs with a clear picture of how their activities contribute to their social objectives and which steps they still need to take in this respect.

This makes the study the next step in professionalising the CSR policy of the Eredivisie and the 18 Eredivisie clubs. Sharing social projects and initiatives contributes to impact-oriented work, knowledge sharing and increasing the social impact of the Eredivisie as a whole.

Main survey results

  • 474,476 people participated in one or more of the 153 social projects of the Eredivisie clubs during the 2021/'22 season;
  • Players committed more than 1.072 hours to community projects in the 2021/’22 season;
  • Together, the 18 eredivisieclubs spent over €4.6 million, excluding associated staff costs, on social projects in the 2021/’22 season;
  • 47% of the Dutch population felt the Eredivisie was socially engaged in the 2021/'22 season. This is an 8% increase from the beginning of the season.

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