Sport and democracy: Young Singh Hatyai United's view
Sport has the power to unite people from all walks of life, to promote inclusion, diversity and respect for each other. When paired with democratic values such as transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights, sport will become a powerful tool for social development and positive change. The growing field of sports for development and peace has gained tremendous momentum in recent years. by empowering individuals and communities through the transformative power of sport.
Community outreach programs are critical to equal access to resources and opportunities for all. At Young Singh Hatyai United, we are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity by engaging marginalized youth groups. We provide opportunities for them in developing soccer skills and continuing to walk the path of passion for sports
Participating in sports can provide individuals with a valuable opportunity to develop important life skills, including teamwork, perseverance, and leadership, which can be transferable to other areas of life, such as business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, sports can serve as a powerful tool for conflict resolution and promoting peace, and can offer a platform for addressing complex social issues. Thus, individuals and communities alike stand to benefit from the multifaceted benefits of sports.
The Asian Football Confederation's document "Vision Asia" emphasizes the importance of football in promoting social development and democratic values. "Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory, and Practice" by Stuart Murray is a masterpiece in the field of sports diplomacy. This book highlights the transformative power of sport in fostering cross-cultural understanding, cooperation and mutual respect, as well as in foreign policy and international relations. The book also emphasizes the importance of promoting democratic values and good governance in sport and provides practical advice on how to leverage sport for social development and positive change.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia is a compelling example of how role-play sports can foster positive change and democratic values. There were concerns about potential violence and racism against non-white players, but in the end, this event brought people from all over the world together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding.
Sport can leverage Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 10 gender equality and 16 peaceful societies. Sports initiatives aligned with the SDGs ensure that sport contributes to broader development goals such as poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and social justice. Governments and governance play an important role in creating a conducive environment for sport, provide resources and support to sports organizations, and ensure good governance practices to maintain the “balance” of transparency in sport.
Large sports events and institutions can foster mutual understanding and cooperation. For example, table tennis diplomacy between the US and China, and the North Korean women's ice hockey team participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Democratizing the sport for the development sector requires overcoming many challenges. Lack of funding, resources and support can hinder efforts to promote good governance and transparency while politics in sport can lead to conflict and tension.
A multi-stakeholder approach involving governments, sports federations, NGOs, athletes and communities is needed to increase participation and representation of underserved groups, distribute resources equally, support local infrastructure and strengthen good governance Working with different stakeholders in the sport for development sector can help bring multiple perspectives to the table and create innovative solutions. This may include cooperation with local organizations, governments and international organizations.
Focusing on grassroots initiatives can help build a strong foundation for lasting change. It is important to empower local communities to take ownership of their own sports development projects. The necessary resources and support are provided by the government or local community organizations.
It is important to identify the root causes of inequality that often lead to unequal distribution of resources. This may include supporting policies that promote equality, support the development of local infrastructure and provide resources and support to youth athletes who do not have access to educational opportunities.
To dismantle unequal power structures, we must shift our focus from a charity model approach to long-term sustainable development driven by local communities. Empowering local communities to take ownership of their own sports development projects, providing the necessary funding, resources and government support. Building strong partnerships with local organizations and governments is an important step in achieving this goal and especially important if a club or a local sports organization disappears because the support from governments has not arrived, which will foster a sense of discontinuation of football and cause further inequality again.
Ultimately, football has the power to build bridges between diverse communities, while promoting mutual respect, understanding and positive social change. By committing to ongoing efforts to promote positive social change and democratic values in sport, we can make sport a symbol of peace for the people around the world and create a more equal world for all.
About the author
Chanuwat Tandulawess is Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Young Singh Hatyai United F.C.. His previous initiatives have provided opportunities for underprivileged youth to pursue their dreams through football, aiming to overcome socio-economic challenges in the Southern Border area of Thailand. He and his team have implemented projects to support youth footballers in Thailand and fostered partnerships with organizations like the Ministry of Education and Oxford United F.C. to promote education and football development on the global stage.