The revised European Sports Charter firmly recalls that “access to sport for all is considered to be a fundamental right” and that all human beings have “an inalienable right of access to sport in a safe environment”, as essential for their personal development and instrumental in the exercise of the rights to health, education, culture and participation in community life.
The revised European Sports Charter furthermore states that no discrimination shall be permitted in the access to sports facilities or to sports activities.
Despite the existence of standards guaranteeing the principle of equality and the right for everyone to participate in sport, a gap still persists between standards (de jure) and practice (de facto) and discrimination cases are still numerous.
This first theme will be addressed under three main angles:
a) Gender equality – ensuring women’s equal participation and involvement;
b) Sport as a means of inclusion: its role for disadvantaged groups;
c) Sport for children: education, safeguarding and development.
Rethinking sport: Leading the way for a healthy and sustainable future
The positive effects of sport and physical activity on people's lives are widely recognised; they include benefits for our health, development, education, well-being and societies.
Today these positive aspects seem to be challenged by increasingly sedentary lifestyles and by the prevalence of the use of digital tools and devices in our lives, and in the lives of children in particular. A trend that has unfortunately been observed and reinforced with the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can we reverse this trend, and how can the COVID-19 pandemic become a catalyst for sport, boosting access to sport for all, enhancing individual practice at grass-roots level and ensuring that people return to sporting activities? The COVID-19 pandemic has very clearly demonstrated the need for physical activity and the importance to provide the possibility to practice sport for everyone. These trends also became apparent via the implementation of recovery plans for sport, at different levels in many countries.
For this reason, sport and physical activities must be supported to become an integral part of today’s way of life, practiced either in an organised or individual manner, from school sport and clubs to company sport, finding the means to make its multifarious benefits thrive in the years to come.
Furthermore, emerging challenges be they legal, financial, organisational, societal or environmental must be addressed in order to lead the way for a healthy and sustainable future, with health and environmental objectives becoming components of sport policies and practice.
This second theme will be addressed under the following three main angles:
a) Addressing the emerging challenges to sport policies;
b) Facilitating access to sport and encouraging practice as part of a healthy lifestyle;
c) Boosting the return to sport activities and events.