Sport and physical activity promote tolerance, solidarity, inclusiveness and many other sporting and European Union (EU) values.
Marginalised and underprivileged groups such as migrants and people at risk of discrimination for example, have the opportunity to interact and integrate with other social groups through sport.
Sport also provides people living with a disability an opportunity to increase their participation in society, showcase their talents and challenge stereotypes.
The social benefits of sport do not always achieve their full potential. Many groups of marginalised people are under-represented amongst sporting professionals, volunteers, and membership of committees and governing bodies. This occurs at all levels, whether local, national, or European.
Promoting social inclusion
The role of sport and physical activity as a source of and driver for social inclusion is highlighted in several policy documents, notably the
- EU Workplan for Sport (2021-2024)
- Council Conclusions on the access to sport of people with disabilities
In March 2021, the Commission adopted the Strategy for Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, which aims to further empower people with disabilities and ensure their full participation in society.
One key objective of the Erasmus+ programme is to promote the inclusion of people who face access barriers or have fewer opportunities. Of the sport projects supported by Erasmus+ in the period 2014-2017, one-in-three tackled issues connected to social inclusion. Going further, the latest generation of Erasmus+ includes a dedicated chapter on inclusion. The new Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Inclusion and Diversity Inclusion Strategy will further drive inclusion and diversity.
The annual #BeInclusive EU Sport Awards recognise and promote the work of organisations which advance the cause of social inclusion for disadvantaged groups.
Further activities and initiatives to promote inclusion and integration in sport include
- the continuation of the 2016 call for proposals on "Promoting HEPA policy measures and actions for refugees", and following on from the 2017-2020 calls for proposals "Sport as a tool for integration and social inclusion of refugees". The 2021 preparatory action continued to promote European inclusion and integration by direct engagement of refugees and host communities through sport.
- the mapping study of good practices relating to social inclusion of migrants through sport, published in 2016
- the study on access to sport for people with disabilities, to better understand barriers to participation