Research project The Swedish Sports Confederation is performing a large organizational change, which involves closing down the Swedish Parasport Federation and include athletes with disabilities in the existing Special Sports Federations. This raises new demands for resource allocation and accessibility. Through qualitative and quantitative data collection methods the project investigates, on individual, group and organizational levels, opportunities, obstacles and barriers for a change towards equal conditions.
Within a number of societal contexts, such as sports, there are obstacles creating inequality that means people with disabilities do not get their human rights fulfilled. To follow the inclusion process that is ongoing within The Swedish Sports Confederation means an unique possibility to understand how equality is “made” in practice and gain new knowledge that contributes to reduce the gap between theory and practice. With our attention directed at sports this project contributes with knowledge to move forward and renew the current research front with the aim to make sports more equal.
The Swedish Sports Confederation is going to perform a large organizational change, which involves closing down the Swedish Parasport Federation and include athletes with disabilities in the existing Special Sports Federations. This change raises new demands for resource allocation, participation and accessibility. Through qualitative and quantitative data collection methods the project investigates, on individual, group and organizational levels, opportunities, obstacles and barriers for a change towards equal conditions. With 3.2 million members in 20,000 non-profit organizations the Swedish Sports Confederation is the country’s largest popular movement. Although almost all people are at some time in their lives members of a sports federation, relatively few children with disabilities take regularly part in some form of sport or physical activity on regular basis. As regards power and influence, few people with disabilities are found in leading positions in sport and in society at large. The Swedish Parasport Federation administers sport for people with disabilities, visual impairments and intellectual disabilities. A previous investigation aimed at identifying preconditions for cooperation and future movement and inclusion of sports from the Swedish Parasport Federation to the Special Sports Federations showed that positive effects of inclusion would chiefly involve increased availability of specialist competence, increased development of athletes and coaches and increased cooperation in competitions and training. Feared negative effects were that athletes with disabilities would be given low priority and that financial resources in the form of support from the Swedish Sports Confederation as well as important specialist knowledge of disabilities would be lost. Thereby this research project contributes important knowledge of equality in living conditions and participation in society in accordance with the United Nations’ convention about rights for persons with disabilities.