7 September marks the International World Fair Play Day. A great opportunity for members of the Fair Play Movement and beyond to raise awareness and reflect on Fair Play in and also outside of sport.
In the impressive setting of Brussels City Hall on the famous Grand Place, ENGSO Policy and Coordination Officer Elisabeth Strobach attended the ceremony that was organized by Panathlon Wallonie-Bruxelles, in cooperation with the city of Brussels, the European Fair Play Movement, the International Fair Play Committee and Panathlon International. Fair play was really a priority on this day in Brussels. Not only did the high-ranking speakers playfully switch between the country’s official languages French and Flemish and English as the universal language in their speeches, but also one of the city’s landmarks, Manneken Pis, was dressed in the World Fair Play jersey.
But as Herman van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council put it, it cannot stop at only displaying fair play, it has to be actively practiced. In a society that is more and more fragmented, we need to practice solidarity respect, and camaraderie.
“Sport is not war, it is fun. It is for everyone.”
And it is not just for everyone, it is for every day. President of the European Fair Play Movement Philippe Housiaux highlighted fair play as an everyday attitude each and every one of us can bring from the world of sport to our daily interactions. In order to achieve this, Pierre Zappelli, President of Panathlon International briefly introduced an initiative at schools that teaches the children at school fair play from an early age.
Vice-President of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee Dominique Monami and Benoit Hellings, Chief Alderman for Climate and Sport, City of Brussels agreed that especially during times of crisis, like the Covid-pandemic that was then over-shadowed by the war in Ukraine and even the current energy crisis, sport is showcasing respectful interaction and brings hope as well as a sense of belonging.
We at ENGSO are delighted to have been present on this day and will continue our path to promote fair play, inclusion, equality, democracy, and education within our daily operations and through our projects.