Study on elite sport in Switzerland: Sports policy support measures showing an impact

Magglingen, 28.06.2021 - Swiss sport was supported by a raft of sports policy measures between 2011 and 2019. They contribute to building an intact competitive profile in the elite sports sector and have a positive impact on athletes’ prospects as well as coaches’ working conditions. These are key findings of the study entitled “Elite sport in Switzerland – Snapshot SPLISS-CH 2019” conducted by the Federal Office of Sport FOSPO in collaboration with Swiss Olympic. The study was presented today in Bern at a media conference with Federal Councillor Viola Amherd.

Having brought about substantial changes to sports promotion in the last ten years, Swiss Olympic and the federal government have improved conditions for athletes and coaches. To this end, the legal basis was updated, financing improved, and partners involved more effectively. Efforts to divide responsibilities between subsidiary governing bodies were stepped up, and the Olympic movement in Switzerland was structurally modernised. This is borne out by the new representative study by the Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM, part of the Swiss Federal Office of Sport FOSPO, in collaboration with Swiss Olympic, the umbrella organisation for sport in Switzerland.

Large-scale survey as basis

Data collection is based on the SPLISS (Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success) model and examines nine relevant areas of a national performance sport system. The survey entailed 1,151 athletes, 542 coaches and 92 team heads from the performance sport community completing a questionnaire. On the basis of an extensive literature analysis, 87 experts from the Swiss sports sector were also interviewed.

Increase in national sports funding

Since 2010, there has been a substantial rise in public funds allocated to the Swiss sports system. This is attributable in part to the increase in grants from the national lotteries earmarked specifically for sport. The federal government, Swiss Olympic and the Swiss Foundation for Sports Assistance have expanded their financial support for sport.

Improvement in athletes’ financial situation

Between 2010 and 2018, funding from the Swiss Foundation for Sports Assistance tripled. This had a direct impact on athletes’ incomes and proved to be the most noticeable development in terms of financial support. Wage data analyses show an increase in athletes’ sport-based income. The median for full-time sportspeople doubled from 2010 to 2018.

Coaching profession on a better footing

Subsidies towards coaches’ salaries and changes to the training structures (Sports Coach Education Switzerland) have increased the appeal of the coaching profession. The measures taken by Swiss Olympic and the federal government to improve coaches’ working conditions have at the same time produced an increase in good governance and regulatory practices in the Swiss performance sport sector.

Six areas of action for sustainable development

Against the backdrop of the funding system’s international classification, a catalogue of its strengths and weaknesses was compiled under the study. The key leverage points for framing performance sport in Switzerland going forward are located in six areas of action: The objective is to improve strategic governance, further optimise athletes’ journeys, consolidate coaches’ career opportunities, improve structural support across the different sports disciplines, network the performance sports system with leading organisations, and to enhance the status of performance sport as a cultural asset in Switzerland.

Address for enquiries

Tobias Fankhauser
Communication FOSPO
+41 58 460 55 03


Federal Office of Sports

General Secretariat DDPS