The leading economist of Sweden, Ingvar Nilsson is together with Jesse Kemppinen and Eva Nilsson Lundmark making a report of the real social benefits of elite football in the country. The final report ”The football pitch in the middle of the village” will be published in the beginning of 2020 but already it can be seen that Swedish elite football creates values for the society up to a billion SEK annually. Especially when it comes to integration and labor market issues. At the same time, the report points out that Swedish elite football must find simple and common methods in order to demonstrate the economic effects in a clear and understandable way. 

”Swedish elite football can include and bring people together in our society in a way that many others can not. But we have to get real figures on the economic benefits of football. It is very important for the elite football to be able to work even more closely with authorities as well as with the public and private sectors in various social issues”, says Beatrice Clarke, CSR Manager at Swedish Professional Football Leagues.

The importance of elite football for integration and labor market issues
Two of the identified challenges presented in the report are the poor integration and age discrimination in society. Swedish elite football is mentioned to be able to shorten the introduction time for new arrivals by up to five years via their contact network and be a support for a way into the labor market. Partly for newly arrived and partly for unemployed over 40 years.

”The task of elite football is not to solve unemployment or integration, but thanks to the football network and the people we reach out to, we can become a catalyst between the state, companies and municipalities”, says Beatrice Clarke.

The lack of a central reporting system
According to Sweden’s leading economist Ingvar Nilsson, it is possible to measure the social impact of football. However, there is no common reporting system for the elite clubs’ community efforts and a first step in developing such a system is the report ”The football plan in the middle of the village”.

Among other things, the report will demonstrate:
*The economic effects of elite football community initiatives
*The interaction between football and society
*How football can better capitalize on its community efforts
*How society can capitalize on better collaboration with football

The final report will also highlight the challenges of elite football’s interaction with society and the great challenge of finding a central reporting system that demonstrates real societal effects in SEK.