International Swimming Pool & Leisure Centre Conference: Governments can secure a 300% return on investment in sport

The  International Swimming Pool & Leisure Centre Conference held in Dublin, Ireland on 9 and 10 February, attracted 200 experts in planning, designing and managing sports facilities from 16 countries including international architects, engineers, public authorities and leisure centre operators from across Europe. The Minister for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD opened the conference jointly hosted by the UIA International Union of Architects, the IAKS and IAKS member Aura Holohan Group.

Professor Peter Taylor; Professor of Sport Economics and Co-Director of the Sport Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “For every GBP 1 invested in sport by the UK government, GBP 3.15 worth of social impact (health, crime reduction, education) is generated.” Professor Taylor was sharing the insights from his most recent work - a study which explores the Social Return on Investment (SROI) in sport and the impact it has on improving health and educational attainment, reducing crime and enhancing participants’ life satisfaction.

Expert after expert advocated that governments need to start investing in sport to tackle the causes of ill health in society, and not just treat the symptoms through the health care system.