Conference on #sport4socialchange during the EWoS

On the 27th of September, in the midst of the European Week of Sport, ENGSO and the European Lotteries co-organised a conference in Brussels entitled „Grassroots sport as a tool for social change: from practice to policy”. The event was supported by the European Commission.

The event was held in the South Denmark European Office, and was attended by more than 50 people, including representatives from various high-level policy-making and sport organisations, such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe, UEFA, several national Olympic Committees and sport confederations. The aim of the event was to give a platform for practitioners, policy-makers and all who are interested in the topic to get together and exchange their views.

After the opening addresses from ENGSO’s President, Carlos Cardoso and the Chair of the EL Sport Working Group, Walter de Beauvesier Watson, a panel discussion took place, entitled „Grassroots sport as an integration & empowerment tool in practice”. The discussion was moderated by ICSSPE’s Director of Scientific Affairs, Katrin Koenen, and its contributors were Anna Strugovshchikova from the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Ville Turkka from the Finnish non-governmental organisation, Icehearts, Giuseppe Pelle from the Italian Lottomatica, and Nathalie Iannetta-Sabattier & Valerio Giovannini from UEFA. The speakers briefly introduced their social inclusion through sport projects, and then Ms. Koenen opened the floor for questions. Herself was interested in the monitoring and evaluation measures of the projects, and it was interesting to listen to the various tools the organisations use to monitor and develop their projects.

After the brainwork of the intense panel discussion, it was time for a short #BeActive break that was animated by Mariann Bardocz-Bencsik, Communication Officer of ENGSO and Michael Leyendecker, Chair of ENGSO Youth.

Once the participants got energised, the event continued with a policy debate on the topic. It was led by Mikkel Larsen, Co-Chair of the EU Advisory Committee of ENGSO, and its speakers were Stefan Bergh from ENGSO, Jens Nymand Christensen from the European Commission, Michael Trinker from the Council of Europe and Dora Palli from the International Olympic Truce Centre.

Stefan Bergh stated that sports clubs are the basic units of sport but „we have a huge homework”, as a lot of young people are not attracted to sports, so us – the sports movement – has to make sports more attractive to them. Michael Trinker emphasised the importance of value-based physical education and he also announced that an online database opened some weeks ago on the website of the Council of Europe where everyone can upload sport projects that target refugees.

Jens Nymand Christensen reminded that grassroots sport is the top priority of Commissioner Navracsics. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of coaches as they are „the social centres for youth”, and pointed out that their role is much wider as it was 20-30 years ago. His viewpoint was shared by the last speaker of the conference, Kairis Ulp, who presented the perspectives of the Estonian Presidency on the topic, stressing that coaches must not only teach sporting techniques, but lifeskills as well. Therefore, they play an inspiring role in sport.

The conference was concluded by the remarks of ENGSO President Carlos Cardoso and Walter de Beauvesier Watson, Chair of EL Sport Working Group of the European Lotteries.

You can find the gallery of the event here.

From the left: Ville Turkka, Founder & Leading Expert, Icehearts; Giuseppe Pelle, EU Relations Manager, Vincere da Grandi project, Lottomatica; Valerio Giovannini, public affairs & EU projects coordinator, UEFA and Anna Strugovshchikova, Consultant, German Olympic Sports Confederation

#sport4socialchange #BeActive #EuropeanLotteries #EWoS #UEFA #Lottomatica #Icehearts #ICSSPE #DOSB