On Tuesday 19th September 2023, EFI organised a closed-room consultation with key community leaders involved in Sports in Belgium and Germany in Brussels. The 1-day consultation meeting discussed potential strategies for developing sports in Belgium, Germany and wider Europe in 2024.
This discussion focused around the United Nations #Sport2030 agenda. This agenda is focused how sport can work towards each of the 17 sustainable development goals.
One of the main topics of discussion was how to increase youth participation in sports, especially girls. Several ideas were proposed, including expanding the availability and inclusivity of sports programmes and access to sports to schools and places of worship. Another suggestion was to create more affordable opportunities for people to participate in sports from ethnic communities via support from national and international sporting bodies and boards.
The group also discussed ways to improve the quality of sports infrastructure and access in Belgium and Germany. This includes upgrading existing facilities and building new ones that are more accessible, especially to those communities with limited or reduced access. Additionally, the group discussed ways to better market and promote sports in the country through faith communities and Mosques, which are community hubs that should be used for sport participation and providing access to equipment for the youth. EFI shared a detailed presentation on the work delivered in England with the England and Wales Cricket Board and Football Association, which centered around working with Mosques, Madrassahs and Schools to provide equipment, training and access to ensure increased inclusivity and opportunities for children to play sports.
The community representatives involved in Sports in the meeting discussed experiences and ideas on how to develop this agenda moving forward in 2024 with the support of EFI. Overall, the meeting was productive and provided some valuable insights into how to improve sports in Europe. The ideas discussed will now be taken forward and specific proposals will be developed that can be presented to the key national and international bodies.