Promoting inclusion in sport is the centre of nurturing sport’s potential to promote inclusion in society.
Sport, in particular, has helped overcome many societal prejudices. Experiences in a number of countries have shown that access to sport and recreation is not only of direct benefit to young people with fewer opportunities, but also helps to improve their standing in the community. Meanwhile, sport can be an empowering experience for its participants. Acquisition of skills through sport can develop the self-confidence to, for example, pursue employment or further education. People can forge friendships through sport, develop social skills, gain independence and take on leadership roles
There are many things that sport clubs and associations can do to promote positive sporting environments and ensure that conduct and behaviour of members and non-members alike are respectful and appropriate. Fortunately, knowledge on how to appropriately adapt sport and promote inclusion is growing and an increasing number of sports associations and NGOs are doing it effectively.
Recommendations for sport clubs and associations about how to create positive sporting environments:
Fair play day – Arrange a fair play day each season to reinforce positive messages. Incorporate the suggestions above into the day.
Invite leaders from different communities to give feedback – Inviting local leaders from different communities or the athletes themselves to give feedback can help determine whether you are doing all you can to promote social inclusion in sport. They may be able to enlighten you as to things you may not have realized were culturally insensitive.
Promote policies and procedures – at registration, inductions, at your venue and/or on your website.
Think about the food – Speak to the members of your team and organization about these issues, and be sure to organize activities that everyone can participate in- including the families of your athletes. By making a genuine attempt to make everyone feel welcome, it will be much easier to foster a socially inclusive environment.
Good Sport Award – Adopt a Good Sport Award to recognize positive behavior by teams and individuals
Articles – Publish articles and tips in your newsletter and/or website. Articles could focus on topics like codes of conduct, the ground marshal, fair play and what to do if incidents occur.
Meetings – Think about arranging pre-season meetings between key groups, such as parents and coaches, to discuss club policies, fair play and expectations. By organizing mandatory games nights or fun activities that generate bonding, you can enable friendships to develop within the team and organization. Allowing all athletes and their families to feel comfortable and creating a sense of belonging has an immediate impact.
Role models – Arrange for role models from your sport to talk to players, parents and coaches. This can have a huge impact on people, especially young people. Inviting local leaders from different communities or the athletes themselves to give feedback can help determine whether you are doing all you can to promote social inclusion in sport.
Ground announcements – Play announcements on game/event days that remind people to keep their emotions in check. For example use our Let Kids Be Kids resources.
Positive messages – Communicate simple fair play messages via banners, posters, stickers or animated banners on your club website.