ENGSO highlights the importance of grassroots sport to health at EU Sport Forum

ENGSO Secretary General Sara Massini represented ENGSO as a panellists in the online workshop “How can sport and physical activity better contribute to a healthier society?”, at the EU Sport Forum 2021, which was held in a virtual format on 8-9 June 2021.

Ms Massini emphasised that ENGSO acts as a bridge between grassroots sport and European and international institutions, and therefore plays a key role in empowering and building stronger, healthier, more resilient communities, using sport as a tool.


She also highlighted that enabling and supporting Europeans to build a healthy and active lifestyle is clearly one of the most important challenges European sports movement need to work on, especially when it comes to strengthening communities.


“Promoting healthy lifestyles requires a multidimensional approach: physical activity, nutrition, but also social inclusion. There is ample evidence that when people feel excluded, they do not adopt healthy lifestyles”. Sara Massini

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During her speech, Ms Massini mentioned that mental well-being, inclusion and equality should be the priorities so that people from all walks of life can be provided with a safe and equal access to sport.


The commissioner Mariya Gabriel opened the EU Sport Forum 2021 with a welcoming remarks on the importance of innovation, resilience and sustainability in sport. She also presented the #HealthyLifestyle4All campaign which will be official launched in September, during the European Week of Sport 2021.

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“Despite the Covid-19 disruption, the sport movement did not let us down. Sport allowed us to carry on. We witnessed the enormous creativity of our citizens in exercise, being active.” Mariya Gabriel


Thomas Bach, IOC President, emphasised the importance of solidarity in and through sport. He highlighted that sport contributes greatly to the physical and mental health, and that the power of sport goes beyond health; it also strengthens the social, community binding and economy aspect of our world. He presented the new IOC agenda, the climate action framework, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic refugee team and the importance of the values driven the European sport model.


“Gender equality is not just an issue of fairness. It is part of good governance.” Thomas Bach

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Other guests included Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Portuguese Minister of Education, Tomasz Frankowski, MEP and Co-Chair of the EP Sport Group, Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, Floor van Houdt, Head of the Sport Unit – European Commission, Niels Nygaard, former President of European Olympic Committee – EOC, and other. Full agenda with speakers can be found here.


Key takeaways of the EU Sport Forum 2021;

        • Innovation should be a “new way” of increasing citizens participation in sport and to improve the health and sustainability in and through sport;
        • Health is priority: new initiative #HealthyLifestyle4All will launched in September.
        • European model of sport is a cohesive community built on solidarity and inclusion.
        • Sustainability should be a new normal.
        • Gender equality is a fundamental principal of our union. Sport should be no exception.
        • Solidarity is the way forward. Resilience, health and sustainability as the three key messages of the EU Sport Forum.

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