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The future of sport and development: Focusing on people and communities

Ema Levaci shares reading resources with a student
Copyrights: NRL Fiji (Photo)

The future of sport and development: Focusing on people and communities

We have identified ten themes that authors emphasised in our recent call for articles on the future of sport and development.

Sport, as a human, social phenomenon is irreplaceable. So why are we not talking about this more? Why are we not priming ourselves to create a future that embraces more of the assets of sport that go beyond the charts and spreadsheets in the sports industry?

Marjorie Enya, International Olympic Academy and Brazilian Rugby Union

As the coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected sport, including professional leagues and competitions, many have begun to question the role of sport in society. Should we be seeking to go back to business as usual? or is it time for sport to change? What needs to be done?

sportanddev recently published a call for articles on the future of sport and development, receiving a record 55 responses from writers across the world and from a range of backgrounds and sectors. We have analysed the published articles and identified 10 key and interlinked themes. The theme for this article is the need to build a more equitable and inclusive sport for development and sport sector.

sportanddev also hosted a webinar on the future of sport and development on 23 June, International Olympic Day with over 300 attendees! Click here to watch the recording.

Focusing on people and communities - not the sport itself

A common theme was the need to prioritise policies and programmes that focus on developing individuals and communities through sport rather than the sport itself. While there are overlaps between development through sport and the development of sport, it is important to acknowledge the different focus and ensure that community needs are prioritised. A bottom-up approach to sport and sport for development is necessary to level the playing field.

If we truly intend to prioritise development through sport then it is time to change the way we view and celebrate sport. Sport should not only be taken seriously when the sport itself is serious (i.e. elite, competitive and performance-based). Grassroots sport and sport for development remain just as important, reminding us that sport is human. The sport industry is on pause, but this does not mean sport and physical activity have stopped altogether, and certain sport for development activities are as critical as ever.

What are the other topics writers emphasised? Find out more.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 16:44