The EU Work Plan for Sport identifies the economic aspects of sport, in particular sustainable financing of grassroots sport, as a priority theme for EU level cooperation in sport. Grassroots sports clubs are in the core of the sports sector and play a vital role in development of the industry. The long term and sustainable funding are a prerequisite for the positive development of amateur sports, and an important element of this should be to identify and implement an adequate financial management model that would include all potential income streams. In a sports club, this model usually consists of: Membership and Training fees, Public sector subventions, Sponsorships, Trading (Sales of tickets and merchandise, Events, Media Coverage Services), Donations of various kinds and In-kind support (volunteering).
The sports-based interventions by grassroots sport clubs can provide benefits for participants with fewer opportunities and could impact in various ways on community development and social cohesion that would lead to the social inclusion. In this regard, the healthy financial condition of the club is crucial to reach this goal. The sports professionals therefore must have a clear and comprehensive input into managing financial information, fundraising and setting budgets. Most sport clubs in Europe are willing to take part in social inclusion projects however they face issues with allocating funding which is outside of their areas of expertise and focus. It is important, therefore, that the sport management institutions are proactive in supporting the clubs and providing the help and guidance the club structures need. The easy access to relevant training and possibilities for development of up-to-date qualifications becomes crucial.
Furthermore, there has been a development in Europe during recent years in which some countries have started to use sport as a means for the integration of minorities (Walseth & Fasting, 2004). The integration qualities of sport are recognized by the Council of Europe which works for ‘promoting sport for all as a mean of improving the quality of life, facilitating social integration and contributing to social cohesion, particular among young people. The Norwegian state sports policy is based on the fact that voluntary organizations constitute valuable social communities. The organizations are arenas for learning, competence development and meaning formation. Participation in organizational life is central to the development of social capital and active social participation. It is therefore important that the organizations manage to be inclusive to all groups in the population, regardless of age, gender, education or income. Sports and physical activity are of great importance in creating a functioning, active and inclusive society (Friberg 2005).
Sport and physical activity therefore have positive effects on both individuals and society in general. There is no clear distinction between the intrinsic value of physical activity and the social significance of sport. Sport at all levels is important for both those who participate and many people around them. Support for voluntary, membership-based sports organizations is important for the maintenance and development of a comprehensive, strong range of local activities as well as for the enhancing of social inclusion.
In line with this background and needs, the MUFFIN project aims at facilitation of social inclusion by
improving financial capacity through enhancing of financial management skills and competencies of sport professionals. MUFFIN also focuses on increasing the capacities of sports stakeholders (universities, institutes, trainers, lecturers, mentors etc.) through course curricula and innovative educational resources to be developed for the improvement of the social inclusion, financial management and fundraising competencies of sports managers.
The overall objectives of MUFFIN are:
• ensuring the easier access to the funding opportunities in sport sector by improving the support mechanisms for the sport professionals
• to facilitate the social inclusion by improving the financial capacity of sport organizations
• to increase the revenue and financial sustainability of sports organizations by improving the financial management and fundraising skills and competencies of sports professionals.
Under the MUFFIN project, the following intellectual outputs will be developed:
IO-1: A Course Curriculum on Financial Management and Fundraising for Sport Professionals
IO-2: Fundraising and Sustainable Financial Capacity Actions Toolkit for Sport Professionals