A proposal based on growth and employment in sport, with a view to exporting some of the ideas and initiatives that have made Denmark "a nation of sports-active people", has been submitted by the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF).
Denmark is considered to have one of the world's most sports-active populations and new analysis from the consultant house DAMVAD shows that sports clubs contributed Danish Krone 4.8 billion (£507 million/$788 million/€645 million) to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012.
The figure covers activities in the sport industry, and all purchases of goods and services in other industries, which the sport clubs have made.
The analysis also shows that the DIF contributes to employment with 16,000 jobs, and the growth and employment proposal provides a number of suggestions as to how it can contribute even more in the future.
The proposal, which is supported by the opposition in Denmark's Parliament, also includes topics such as sport as a door opener for export promotion, meaningful employment training schemes in sport clubs, and large elite clubs' possibilities for creating regional development through funding from European Union structural funds.
"It's very interesting and relevant," said Brian Mikkelsen, a member of the Conservative Party, and former Minister for Economic and Business Affairs.
"When sport is being socially responsible, we accept it with open arms."
Large and fast-growing countries like China, Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil, characterised by a rapidly growing middle-class, are considered not to be as physically active as Denmark and are said to be interested in Denmark's sports model.
"I was recently in a meeting with the Indonesian Ambassador to Denmark [Casper Klynge], who asked very interested about how we activate the Danish population," said Rasmus Lyhne Ibsen, a political advisor involved in working with the new growth and employment policy proposal.
"Indonesia has 250 million inhabitants, and it will save Indonesians enormous health care costs if the population could become more physically active."
The DIF will explore which initiatives and projects might be interesting for countries in Asia, South America and the Middle East and decide on how the exporting process is best approached in dialogue with the Government and the Export Council.
"It is very interesting to look at sport as an independent export product, and I'm ready to explore further opportunities," said the Trade and Development Minister Mogens Jensen.
"Denmark has something unique to offer - not just to countries like China and India, but also countries in Africa and Latin America, where the economy is doing better, and an emerging middle class is seeing the light of day, where the need for health initiatives plays an increasingly important role."
Jensen will now make sure that the DIF growth and employment proposal is mentioned in the newsletter, Denmark Digest, so that foreign embassies are aware of the initiatives.
Earlier this year, the Government launched a strategy for export and economic diplomacy and Jensen believes that the DIF's proposal fits into the strategy.
Although many emerging economies do not have the same tradition of volunteering as in Denmark, he believes that the Danish structure for organised sport can be interesting for countries abroad.
"You have to start somewhere, and we have previously been able to export some of the things that have helped to form our welfare state," he said.
"In Denmark we have a wide range of sport opportunities, which helps to prevent lifestyle diseases, but the way we organise ourselves with sports clubs, also means a lot for our democracy.
"If we can export our way to build up the sport, it can help to create better conditions for democracy and human rights in other countries."
Mikkelsen added that "in addition to the Royal Family, Danish sport is the best door opener to the export markets".
"Five times I've been in Brazil, which is home to 200 million people who love sport," he said.
"Every time, I have been asked how we succeed in getting so many children to play sport.
"It shows that sport is a very interesting export product.
"The NOC of Denmark's proposal on growth and employment is feasible, and we can continue to work with it politically.
"If we get a Conservative Government at the next election, then the proposal will be a key concern for a new Government."
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