EPAS Study - Background


The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis that required decisive measures from governments and civil society to stop the spread of the contagious and potentially lethal disease.

Numerous countries around the world introduced measured aimed at curbing the spread and impact of the virus. Social distancing, lockdowns, increased work from home and closure of social locations such as bars and restaurants, sports clubs, and fitness centres were but some of the measures introduced to curtail Covid-19. These measures all contributed to creating remarkable changes in the lifestyles and daily routines of millions of people not only in the member states of the Council of Europe but around the globe.

It has long been established the vital important physical activity plays in protection of human health and moreover contributes to an individuals’ personal wellbeing and happiness. Moreover, the socialisation occurring at or through social sport events are an important part of mental health, civil society, and people’s life in many states. More than this, sport plays a major role in the economic value add in many countries.

Given these realities, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and more specifically the measures introduced to stop it, are believed to have had a major impact on the sport sector, physical activity and more widely human wellbeing. As such, the Council of Europe, Partial Agreement in Sport unit commissioned a study to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s physical activity/behaviour in terms of how much they exercised and how and where they did so. The study was conducted in 29 member states of the Council of Europe and took place between 26.11.2020 and 21.12.2020.

In total 14645 people completed the survey, representing a large cross-section of the community in each country. Per country, a representative sample was collected on available census data for age & gender. Sample size per country varied between 300 and 800 individuals.


The questionnaire itself was designed to collect a series of different data from every respondent:

a.   various demographic data, e.g. income, household size, education, employment status, job impact of pandemic (i.e. working more from home), monthly income change due to pandemic and whether the live in a city or rural area.

b.   the amount of time spent on sports and sports activities on three points in time:                            

  • before the pandemic in 2019,
  • during the first lockdown (March-April 2020)
  • after the lockdown (August-September 2020)



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Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport