Building European Safe Sports Together: a conceptual framework of transgressive behaviour

Marleen J.M. Haandrikman, Nicolette Schipper-van Veldhoven*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic

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The (in)visibility of power in sports: we need a change! Cases of transgressive behaviours keep occurring due to social standards and norms formed by the sports community themselves. Through ongoing communication over time, these came to be seen as 'truths' and people are acting according to these 'truths' (e.g., coaches' dominance over athletes). As a result, individuals may gain or assert power based on the societal norms that are seen as absolute 'truths'. They believe their identity gives them authority over others and forces recognition of this power, leading to transgressive behaviour in sports. But is this actually the 'truth'? Project BESST's (Building European Safe Sports Together) framework helps individuals think and reflect about power's role in transgressive behaviour and safeguarding in sports. Comprehending interpersonal dynamics surrounding power relationships, transgressive behaviours in sports can be defined and understood universally. Achieving BESST requires a collective effort from all stakeholders at every level of the sports community, prioritising safety. To achieve this, we must change the power dynamics in the sports community's culture, empowering marginalised individuals and utilising power dynamics in relationships. A holistic approach is needed to build safe sports. It is about how people exhibit power, in which context it happens, over whom it happens, and its effects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2024


  • Safe sports
  • Transgressive behaviour
  • Power
  • Resilience
  • Empowerment


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