The COP has released a study which provides recommendations for the development of sport in the country ©Getty Images

The Olympic Committee of Portugal (COP) has published a study on the country's sports sector, providing recommendations and priority areas to be addressed moving forward.

The study was coordinated by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and aims to launch a public discussion on the role of sport in society.

It analyses systems and solutions in place elsewhere in Europe, and features interviews with various experts.

COP President José Manuel Constantino welcomed the release of the report.

"Portugal is facing a long and deep crisis of sustainability of its sports model, as evidenced by the figures of participation, development and sport competitiveness that place the country in the very bottom of Europe, which were worsened throughout the pandemic as seen in the first part of this work undertaken by PwC in 2021," Constantino said.

"Before the evidence of the assessment made at the time, involving the national umbrella sport organisations, following the Summits of the Sport Federations, it became clear the pressing need to commission an independent study in order to bring forward strategic priorities and recommendations to tackle this structural issue, halt systemic vulnerabilities and raise Portuguese sport to other levels of development.

Pedro Pichardo won Portugal's first Olympic gold medal since Beijing 2008 in the men's triple jump at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Pedro Pichardo won Portugal's first Olympic gold medal since Beijing 2008 in the men's triple jump at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"The study now made available, gathering evidence from international case studies, exploratory interviews and comprehensive desk research, represents a very earnest commitment to build the foundations for a long overdue and postponed public policy for sport, aligned within an overarching systemic framework with strategic guidelines and tangible goals binding all stakeholders in a game-changing endeavour to empower the sector, enhance its human capital and external competitiveness, while propelling out of the marginal position it currently holds within the country's public policies."

Long-term structural vulnerabilities including under-investment, a low level of professionalism, low levels of sporting participation, poor awareness of the need to innovate in sport and issues of integrity and social responsibility are outlined in the 'Priority areas and general recommendations for the Portuguese sport' paper.

It calls for "a cultural change" in Portugal, aided by more efficient investment, an "athlete-centred approach to deliver high-quality sport" and "collaboration between stakeholders, both in sport and in neighbouring sectors".

A national sport strategy to connect all dimensions of sport is also recommended.

Portugal sent 92 athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with Pedro Pichardo in the men's triple jump winning its first gold medal since Beijing 2008.

The country also won one silver and two bronze medals, with four the highest number of medals it has ever achieved at the Games.