Zagreb, 30 November 2020 - The Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) and the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) jointly organized the Conference on Investments in Sports with a presentation of the results of sports satellite account of sport and study on investments in sports. The conference with around twenty present speakers and guests was held, respecting all the prescribed epidemiological measures, at the headquarters of the Croatian Chamber of Economy in Zagreb.

The list of dignitaries who participated in the opening of the conference with welcome speeches -  President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy Luka Burilović, Croatian Olympic Committee’s President Zlatko Mateša, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and International Olympic Committee’s member and President of the Republic of Croatia in the mandate from 2015 to 2020 Kolinda Grabar Kitarović – speaks pretty much about how interesting the conference topic was and overall significance of the conference.  

They highlighted that sports should also be discussed as an economic activity because it has an unlimited potential, a positive impact on other sectors and the state budget, it generates new jobs and that any investment in sports is paid off many times through citizens’ health. International Olympic Committee’s representative Kolinda Grabar Kitarović stressed the importance of practicing sports during the current pandemic, investing in sports infrastructure and availability of facilities to the citizens, as well as the importance of investing in professional staff.

Through a presentation under a common name "Smarter Europe through Sports", the conference was enriched with valuable information by members of the European Parliament Tomislav Sokol and Sunčana Glavak and Vice President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica. Sokol and Šuica participated via video-link, while Glavak presented a wealth of interesting data in live addressing, with the most intriguing ones relating to the fact that the European Union today spends 80.4 billion euros on treatment of diseases caused by lack of exercise in citizens. With thesis that Croatia has never had more abundant funds available, she announced an increase in European money for the program Erasmus+ Sport to more than 25 billion euros over the next seven years.

The presentation of sports satellite account and study on investments in sports was opened by the Croatian Olympic Committee’s European Union Programs; Funds and EU Program Coordinator Alma Papić. She pointed out that sports satellite account (its effects and connection to the rest of the economy in the country) has no intention to ignore the social value of sports. Croatia is the 11th country to introduce the sports satellite account, through which we learn direct and indirect effects on the domestic economy. For example, according to data for 2015, the average euro invested in sports in the Republic of Croatia generated 74 cents of domestic gross value added (GVA) or a total of 878 million euro of gross value added (2.37 total gross value added in the economy). Sports and sports-related activities also contribute to the employment. With a share of 4.31% of total employment in the country (67,175 employees), Croatia is the fourth country in the European Union. With sport's supply network and additional activities linked to it, sport's share of the gross value added is 3.75 percent (1.39 billion euros).

Assistant Professor Tomislav Globan from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb spoke about the positive economic effects of sports on the economy as a whole. The presentation ended with conclusion that investing in sports allows more citizens to be involved in sports, and such positive effects not only affect the health of the nation and working efficiency of citizens but also more stable pension system of the country.  

A dozen partners from seven countries participated in the preparation of Croatian sports’ satellite account, while Anna Kleissner and Guenther Grohall from the Austrian Institute of Sports Economics (SpEA) and Themistoklis Kokolakakis from the British University of Sheffield participated in the conference at the Croatian Chamber of Economy via video-link.

The host of the meeting, President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy Luka Burilović, pointed out that investments in sports in relation to what sport brings to us are at a very low level and that this situation needs to change. He expressed hope that the Croatian Chamber of Economy will also hold the European Conference on Investments in Sports, planned for the second half of 2021. (COC/VK)