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Public lecture: Male versus Female football in Europe. What are the wellbeing, health and social values?

Three young women playing football in a park
Date and Time
12th July 2022, 17:30 - 18:30
The event has passed


This public lecture was delivered by Professor Paul Downward, Professor of Economics at Loughborough University, in July 2022. Timed to coincide with the UEFA Women’s EURO taking place in England, the talk discussed the wellbeing, health and social values of male versus female football in Europe.

In recent years, public policy has promoted sport participation across Europe because of benefits to health, social capital and wellbeing. This talk reported research that seeks to answer two questions connected with football in Europe:

  • How does participation in different types of football affect male and female social capital, wellbeing, and health?
  • What monetary values can be assigned to these effects?

The focus on football reflects it being the largest participation team sport, that it can take place in a variety of formal and informal contexts and that it is a sport that is rapidly developing for females and challenging existing patterns of sport participation. Addressing the research questions in this context can inform future investment by governing bodies.

Whilst it has long been argued that greater sport and physical activity participation can help to reduce health care costs, increasingly social return on investment analyses have emerged. These investigate the case for increased investment in sport aimed at drawing down the benefits associated with sports beyond the economic impact.

Professor Downward is an applied economist and has wide ranging interests in sport, physical activity and leisure. He has recently edited a volume on Sports Economics, has published two books on the Economics of Sports, and edited a Handbook on Sport Management.  He is currently embarked on studies of the determinants of sport, physical activity and volunteering, and their impacts on: Health and wellbeing, social capital, social inclusion and exclusion and human capital. He is also exploring health inequalities.

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