Establishment of the International Confederation of Sport and Exercise Science Practice

9th August 2022

BASES is a Foundational Full Member of the International Confederation of Sport and Exercise Science Practice (ICSESP), represented on that Board by Dr Keith Tolfrey FBASES.

The establishment of this new Confederation to promote global collaboration and support of practitioners in the science of sport and exercise has just been highlighted in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (

“This confederation is a defining step for sport and exercise science professions globally. Now is the opportune time for the professions to think more strategically on global issues like prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and athlete management issues such as doping in sport,” says Australian representative and inaugural Chair of the new initiative, Associate Professor Kade Davison.

There is growing recognition of the role of university qualified exercise specialists in some countries around the world. Roles such as Exercise and Sport Scientists and Exercise Physiologists, are becoming increasingly known for their role in supporting people to use a scientific approach to exercise prescription to safely manage chronic illness, improve overall health and wellbeing, or to enhance sport performance.

“Despite this, there is inconsistency in how health systems and the sport and recreation sectors acknowledge these professions, and only a handful of countries formally recognise them at all,” says Associate Professor Davison.

Over the past four years, the lead national organisations that represent exercise and sport science practitioners in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the USA have been developing a new global body that will work to address these inconsistencies and support other nations to establish these professions.

Prof Zoe Knowles FBASES, Chair of BASES said, “Back in February 2020, we were proud to sign as a Foundational Full Member of the ICSESP, wanting to commit to positively impacting individuals, communities and countries by advancing the international practice of the sport and exercise sciences. There is strength in a united voice and common platform from which to advance the shared goal of promoting the practice of sport and exercise science."

“This all started with a discussion at a conference in New Zealand a few years ago with representatives from our founding members. It is exciting to see the idea come to fruition, and it should certainly pay dividends for our professions in the future,” added Anita Hobson-Powell, CEO of Exercise & Sport Science Australia (ESSA).

It is hoped that this work to establish international standards/codes and to raise the profile of the professions will pave the way for these professionals all over the world.

The equivalent world body for Occupational Therapists was established 70 years ago with 10 members and now has 75 nations as full members, and the physiotherapists have grown to 125 member nations over the same time frame.

“We hope our work won’t take quite that long, but that level of global growth and development of the profession is our goal, and that, in turn, would help reduce some of the main causes of premature death globally including heart attacks, stroke, dementia, diabetes and kidney disease,” says Davison.

Over the next two years, ICSESP will be looking to build its network to establish collaborations with other international professions and non-government organisations and expand its membership to other countries with existing exercise and sport science practitioners and those aspiring to develop the profession.

The International Confederation has already commenced work. Key initiatives include an international set of professional standards for Clinical Exercise Physiology, an overarching code of professional and ethical conduct to inform best practice worldwide, and a broad industry survey to help inform a globally representative strategy to best support those who work in applying the science of sport and exercise. For more information go to


BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

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