Optimising elite sport systems

SPLISS assesses and advises elite sport policy-makers on optimising their elite sport systems. Thus, we offer our expertise to countries that wish to evaluate and improve their nations’ elite sport system and climate. We make the potential improvements visible using our unique SPLISS methodology. The results will increase insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of a nation’s elite sport policies, benchmarked against different nations.


SPLISS (Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success) is a network for international comparative studies on high performance sport which has the aim to coordinate, develop and share expertise in innovative high performance sport research at the policy level.


The mission of the SPLISS consortium group is “to create a sustainable international network that coordinates research and develops and shares expertise on innovative high performance sport at the meso-level (policy level), in cooperation with policy makers, NOCs, national and international organisations, and researchers worldwide”.

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How does your country compare to others?

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SPLISS has more than 15 years of experience in benchmarking elite sport systems.

A SPLISS benchmark increases insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of a nation’s elite sport policies compared to more than 17 other nations. It makes use of the experience developed during several benchmark studies (see SPLISS 1.0 and SPLISS 2.0) and takes place at the ‘overall’ or national sport policy level.

Key questions are:

Why do some countries win more medals than others? How much do countries invest in elite sport?

How do nations prioritize their elite sport investment decisions?

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How effective is your elite sport system?

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A SPLISS assessment evaluates a nations elite sport system and climate.

SPLISS assessments are characterised by four elements:

1: SPLISS model & its critical success factors
2: Involvement of elite athletes, coaches and performance directors
3: SPLISS Scoring system
4: Collaboration with a local partner/researcher

Key questions are:

What makes an elite sport policy effective and efficient?

How can nations improve their chances of winning medals in international sport?

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Why should countries (not) invest in elite sport? (outcomes)

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An Elite Sport Societal Outcomes (ESSO) study addresses the question ‘What positive and negative outcomes does elite sport lead to for society and for your nation?’ In other words, in what way are successful athletes as role models, elite sport events and all stakeholders involved with elite sport able to inspire a nation towards positive benefits?

Key questions are:

Does elite sport success increase our population’s national pride, happiness, national bonding, well-being… or not?

Are your national athletes as role models inspiring  youngsters to participate in sport?

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Buy the SPLISS 2.0 Book!

Successful elite

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SPLISS brochure voorblad

Download/link SPLISS publications

SPLISS model


SPLISS has developed and shared innovative research for more than 15 years about elite sport policies in the following topics:

SPLISS Overall      Comparing national elite sport policies

 SPLISS Impact        Addressing how elite sport impacts upon society

Sport Specific      Examining elite sport policies in specific sports

  Para-SPLISS          Paralympic athletes pathways and policies

Did you use SPLISS in your project or research? Let’s get in  contact

Since more than 15 years an international group of researchers joined forces to develop theories and methods on the Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS).

Two large-scale international SPLISS-projects were conducted that identified, compared and contrasted elite sport policies and strategies in place for the Olympic Games and other events in 15 distinct nations.

With input from over 50 researchers and over 30 policy makers worldwide and the views of over 3000 elite athletes, 1300 high performance coaches and 240 performance directors, this work is the largest benchmarking study of national elite sport policies ever conducted.