Centre of Expertise Health Innovation

Research Group Impact of Sport

Sports promote social interaction, which may contribute to a dynamic, resilient and inclusive society. To create valuable social interactions, sports organisations must be able to cope with increasingly diverse communities. A considerable task for the traditional sports club, which requires new forms of collaboration between sports clubs, residents, local and national government, public and private organisations.

About the research group


The Impact of Sport research group focuses on promoting social vitality, inclusion and resilience by strengthening organisations, professionals and volunteers involved in sports management. The research investigates how to positively enhance the social impact of sport in urban areas facing important social issues and challenges, especially in ethnically diverse communities.   


Impact of Sport researchers are working within communities alongside residents, sports associations and other sports providers, students, municipalities, public and private organisations. Action research and innovations from living labs generate new useful knowledge on cooperation and co-existence, unlocking potential (new) organisational forms, practical skills for sports professionals and volunteers and a new, positive impact of sport on society. The research group works in a demand-driven and practice-oriented manner, in The Hague and beyond.

What is the impact of sport?

About the professor

dr. Frank van Eekeren

As a management and organisation research scientist, Frank van Eekeren has spent over 20 years investigating the social significance of sport in relation with the organisation of sport. In his PhD dissertation De Waardenvolle Club (the valuable club), he describes an ideal sports organisation that creates public value in addition to value creation in the nexus of sport and business. He conducts research in and around the field of sports, both locally and internationally, and publishes in journals, sports publications and blogs. Frank is also employed as Associate Professor at Utrecht University School of Governance.

+31 (0)6 - 48 07 21 43
In a society that is becoming increasingly diverse, the connecting role of sport is becoming more and more important.

Frank van Eekeren’s additional positions 

  • Senior Lecturer at Utrecht University (Department of Public Administration and Organisational Science) 

  • Member of the FC Utrecht Social Advisory Council 

  • Member of the new NOC*NSF Good Sport Governance Code Steering Committee 

  • Member of the Advisory Council of More2Win (social enterprise) 

  • Sport & Strategie Columnist 



Understanding the role of men in facilitating gender equity in football governance

Understanding the role of men in facilitating gender equity in football governance

Despite recent successes of the Netherlands women's national football team and a sharp increase in the number of girls and women joining clubs, gender inequality in football remains prevalent. In management, trainers or coach positions, men are by far the majority. In this study we look at the role that men can play in creating more gender equity. We compare the situation in seven countries: England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Slovenia and Russia.  

Read more
 Living labs in The Hague Sports District

Living labs in The Hague Sports District

The Impact of Sport research group investigates the unifying power of sport in the Escamp district of The Hague, so-called ‘The Hague Sports District’. Researchers work with residents, students, local sports organisations and businesses in living labs, a research hub at the heart of the community, where the creative energy of all parties can be unleashed in a casual atmosphere. Living labs enable experimentation with innovative sports offerings and new forms of (sports) organisation and collaborations in a ‘real life setting’. The group is realising four living labs in Escamp, starting in the Morgenstond neighbourhood, on and around the fields of HKV Eibernest.

Read more