The start of the BESST Project in Papendal (NL)

On the 15th of March, the partners of BESST project gathered to discuss about the start of the “Building European Safe Sport Together” in Papendal Olympic Training Center. In the first physical meeting of the project, the partners laid the groundwork for research and creation of a definition of safe sport, as well as guidelines and measures for its legal framework. 

For the first time the project team of the Erasmus+ funded project “Building European Safe Sport Together” (BESST) physically gathered in mid-March to plan and align its tasks. The EOA operates in the project as a lead organisation and is supported by the six beneficiary partners in creating the legal framework and the toolkit for safe sports. 

What is BESST?

The 24-month long EU project aims to form the foundation of a European sport free from harassment and abuse. The project with its collaborateurs of their own expertise will effectively contribute to the understanding and readiness of European sport on its safeguarding, delivering academic support, a continent-wide network of organisations for dissemination, legal, project management and event delivery.

What will BESST accomplish?

The clear aim of the project is to make a positive difference for the safety of European sports at all levels with four key objectives:  

  1. To develop a single definition of abuse and harassment and unifying speech and debate on the subject throughout Europe by considering current documents and academic literature of the topic. 
  2. To develop a turn-key solution safe sport legal framework for European Sports Organisations, including National Olympic Committees, National Federations, and Clubs. 
  3. To create a toolkit for sports safeguarding awareness and education based on digital means (with an emphasis on social media, which is accessible to all), to be used by all European sports organisations of various levels and resources. 
  4. To develop a protective legal framework, as well as policies and procedures for European sports event organisers. 
Who is involved in BESST? 

European Olympic Academies acts as a lead coordinator of the project. In addition, project partners are the National Olympic Committee of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF) whose Center for Safe Sport kindly introduced the projects partners to the impressive Olympic Training Centre Papendal, the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences who contributes to the academic literature and research, the National Olympic Committee of Slovenia, the Rudi Hiti Academy, that brings in the perspective of clubs alongside a high level of expertise in running EU projects, the UEFA Foundation for Children and IGNITX, a consultancy organisation for sport events and projects with experts around the world.

What happened in Papendal? 

The two-day project meeting took place from Wednesday, March 15, until Friday, March 17, 2023. After the first day of introduction of the partners and their expertise, on Thursday the project was presented with sharing different approaches, methods and experiences regarding safeguarding and abuse. Two of the first work packages, definition and legal framework, were introduced and responsibility areas were distributed.   

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences will contribute to creating a vital definition of safe sport. The aim is to define the desired behaviour standard and create an applicable scheme for all levels of sport which can be conveniently developed over time. IGNITX in turn is responsible for the legal framework of which the goal is to create guidelines and measures, but also to define sanctions and a reporting mechanism for safe sports. In order to do so, IGNITX will conduct benchmarking and gather data to develop an understanding of current knowledge within European National Olympic Committees (NOCs), National Sport Federations (NFs) and Clubs.

Next steps

For the BESST project, in the next months, the EOA will contact all NOCs and many NFs to contribute to the survey and the results will be shared by EOA. In the coming year, there will be more workshops and reports which will summarise the state of findings and deliverables of the project. If you have any questions or would like to contact the BESST project management, please do not hesitate to contact

More information can be found in the project description on the website of the European Commission.