The Euros…Sport and Development


Unlike the World Cup in 2014, I’ve been really interested and  integrated the start of my summer holidays with the Euros in France. I’m not doing too bad on predicting some of the scores. Even after some of the ridiculous behaviour which was seen at the start, things seem to have calmed down and enjoy the football!!

Even after studying World Development A level, I have never looked at Sport and development but at the start of 2016 I carried out personal research and lectures on development, within my Interconnected World lectures which have been really interesting.

The international Development through Sport (DTS) agenda

“It was in 2001 that the United Nations formally recognised that sport could be used at the individual, community, national and global levels as a mechanism, in combination with existing efforts, to achieve specific targets such as those concerning poverty reduction, achieving universal education, promoting gender equality, ensuring environmental sustainability and combating HIV/AIDS” Beutler (2008) “Sport Serving Development and Peace,” p.360.

The potential of sport to effectively convey messages and influence behaviour on one hand, while improving the quality of people’s lives and promoting peace on the has been increasingly recognised in recent years. This is why the United Nations has decided to incorporate sport into its programs and policies across the globe. For their part, assistance policies.

  • 2001: appointment of 1st UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace
  • 2003: first international conference on Sport and Development, Magglingen, Switzerland, followed by the Magglingen Declaration on Sport and Development
  • 2005: UN International Year of Sport and Physical Education
  • 2006: World Economic Forum, session on the role of sport in development

The Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) movement 

Key assumptions of the SDP movement:

  • Sport’s core values (fair play, cooperation, sharing and respect) are conducive to peace and development
  • Sport can contribute to both human development and economic development
  • Bringing people together is a recipe for peace and development
  • The positives of sport outweigh the negatives
  • Sport and play are human rights: they are ends in themselves and not only means to other ends.

The purported benefits of sport

  • Conflict resolution and inter-cultural understanding
  • Community development/capacity-building’
  • Social development/integration (e.g. anti-racism, gender equality)
  • Education/raising awareness
  • Health promotion/disease prevention
  • Empowerment
  • Economic development/poverty alleviation

The negatives – societal traits…

“Sport, however, is a reflection of society. It should be acknowledged that sport, like many aspects of society, simultaneously encompasses some of the worst human traits, including violence, corruption, discrimination, hooliganism, excessive nationalism, cheating and drug abuse” UN (2003) “Sport for Development and Peace,” p.2

…or a deviant few?

“The Croatian FA appeals to Uefa not to punish the Croatian national team [at Euro 2012]…and not to associate it with the section of fans who actually are not supporters but hooligans who should be isolated from all sports events. Also at this championship, Croatia showed what great, cultural and loyal fans it has – fans who love their national team, respect all other national teams and support their country in the spirit of sports and fair play.” “Uefa charge Croatia over fans’ alleged racist abuse,” The Observer (Sport) 17 June, 2012, p.6

Key actors in the SDP movement

United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace – (UNOSDP)

The UNOSDP was introduced by Kofi Annan in 2001. Its mandate is to coordinate the efforts undertaken by the United Nations in promoting sport in a systematic and coherent way as a means to contribute to the achievement of development and peace. The current UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace is Wilfried Lemke from Bremen, Germany. He is only the second to act in this position and succeeded Adolf Ogi in March 2008. UNOSDP is situated at the UN Office at Geneva. There is also a liaison office at UN Headquarters in New York.

United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund – UNICEF

“UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

In all of its work, UNICEF takes a life-cycle based approach, recognizing the particular importance of early childhood development and adolescence. UNICEF programmes focus on the most disadvantaged children, including those living in fragile contexts, those with disabilities, those who are affected by rapid urbanization and those affected by environmental degradation”.

United Nations Development Programme – (UNDP)

“UNDP works in some 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

Inclusive growth, better services, environmental sustainability, good governance, and security are fundamental to development progress. We offer our expertise in development thinking and practice, and our decades of experience at country level, to support countries to meet their development aspirations and to bring the voices of the world’s peoples into deliberations.

In 2016, UNDP is continuing its work to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, as they help shape global sustainable development for the next 15 years.”

NGOs, especially sport-specific NGOs like:

Playing for Peace

“In Play for Peace, we train and support young leaders who inspire #CompassionInAction and friendships across divides. They lead peace education programs for children and community service projects in their neighbourhoods, creating hope and positive connections where once there was divisions and violence.”

Sporting bodies, federations and clubs, like:


The FIFA development globe introduces you to FIFA development activities worldwide. Learn what FIFA does – all around the globe – to improve the state of the game around the world!

UK Sport

UK Sport is committed to inspiring organisations to be world leading in terms of governance, not just to prove they are fit to receive public funds but so their governance and leadership can positively impact and support athlete success. The leadership and governance of organisations can often have knock on effects to the performance of our sports against their medal targets.

UK Sport works with funded organisations to support the development of governance and leadership and ensure that organisations are run professionally and efficiently, with a commitment to achieving the highest standard of corporate governance and financial management all levels.

FC Barcelona Foundation

The FC Barcelona Foundation is the entity through which FC Barcelona conveys its corporate social responsibility. All projects FC Barcelona Foundation is developed based on the following premises: The use of sport as the backbone; the promotion of education and the positive values of sport; Children and adolescents as objective beneficiaries; the projection of Catalonia through FC Barcelona.

Since its founding in 1994, the FC Barcelona Foundation has been an endless source of people’s participation in numerous social, cultural, and sporting activities that the Club has organised, and which reflect an advanced society that found in the Club and the Foundation the ideal vehicle to promote them.

Organisational networks, like:

Right to play

Right to play claims to work with one million children every week. Through our programmes, children and young people get a quality education, stay healthy and build peaceful communities. 14,400 specially-trained volunteer Coaches deliver programmes focused on the most critical areas of child development: the quality of their education, their ability to stay healthy and their potential to help build peaceful communities.

Development through Football

In 2006, the European Commission and FIFA established a partnership in the field of development through football due to its cross-cutting potentials in many areas of development “considering the potential positive impact of football on developing countries and their progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the importance of holding the next FIFA World Cup on the African continent for the first time in South Africa in 2010”. The huge public and media attention for the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa is big opportunity

Hubs for development? “20 Centres for 2010”

Football tournaments and ‘small’ development: The Katine project and ‘Katine ’09’

“On 6 June, 48 teams from north-east Uganda will compete in a football tournament to mark the halfway point of the Guardian’s Katine project. Football is a passion in Uganda and is a powerful way to mobilise people in post-conflict areas, such as Katine, where there has been civil war and insurgency over the past 20 years. The sport brings communities together for a common purpose, instilling pride. It teaches discipline, respect, teamwork and hope. The tournament will revitalise sport in the region.”


The SDP movement and sub-field of development through football are relatively new from mainly since 2000 onwards. The key actors are the UN, sports-specific NGOs, sporting organisations, clubs and individuals, and private-sector partners. DTS projects operate at different geographic scales (continental, national, community, and individual). DTS is not a model of development but a microcosm of international development more generally.  Finally one of the main discussion points from reviewing sport for development and peace is that do the positives outweigh the negatives?

I believe that I will come back to researching sport and development in some more detail during my globalisation and development module in second year of university.


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