ENGSO’s European Sport Platform 2022 gathers sport federations and grassroots sports movement in Arnhem, The Netherlands, for a two-day learning experience on inclusion and equality in sport
Arnhem, The Netherlands, 14-15 October 2022 – The representatives from National Olympic Committees, National Sports Confederations and other European umbrella Sport Federations gathered in Arnhem, The Netherlands, for the 5th edition of The European Sports NGO – ENGSO’s flagship event – the European Sport Platform.
Under the theme of “The Inclusive Paradox”, the 2022 European Sport Platform was hosted by the ENGSO member Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF) in the sports capital of The Netherlands – Arnhem and the Olympic Training Centre Papendal.
The event opened on Friday, 14 October 2022, with welcome speeches from ENGSO President Mr Stefan Bergh, Mr Marc van den Tweel, NOC*NSF Director, and Mr Bob Roelofs, Administrator of the City Council of Arnhem, and a message from Ms Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Other speakers included were Ms Florencia Van Houdt, Head of the Unit for Sport at the European Commission, Ms Marijke Fleuren, President of European Hockey Federation, Ms Inge Jansen, Policy advisor for Sport at the Ministry of Health, Well-being and Sport, UEFA’s Liam McGroarty and Rupert Webster (Strategy Managers), Fnaan Woldegiorgis and Jaap Paulsen from Royal Dutch Football Association, Mr Richard Kaper, Manager Sports Participation at NOC*NSF, and others.
The two-day event offered a learning and networking experience with interactive workshops for the representatives of National Olympic Committees, Sport Federations and Non-governmental Organisations from all over Europe. United through values based sport that strengthens communities, they joined ENGSO and NOC*NSF to learn and improve their work, approaches and strategies in the field of sports for all, with a special focus on inclusion, equality and youth in sport.
The aim of the European Sport Platform was to inform and educate ENGSO members (National Olympic Committees and National Sports Federations) and other sports NGOs from Europe on the latest developments and strategies on how the European sport organisations and clubs can approach and work with marginalised groups such as LGBTQI+ community, people with disabilities or refugees in sport, and the positive change inclusion of those groups bring to sport federations, communities, cities and nations across Europe.
The next edition of the European Sports Platform will be held in October 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. Before that, ENGSO members and partners will meet in May 2023, in Crete, Greece, for the ENGSO General Assembly 2023.
In light of recent pandemic, war of aggression on Ukraine and current energy crisis, it is crucial to ensure that we offer the European sport structure that is inclusive and gives special attention to marginalised communities and individuals who are often excluded from participating in sport, and are therefore missing out on health, social and educational benefits sport federations can offer through grassroots sport and clubs. This was the aim of the 2022 European Sport Platform, to gather sport organisations from all over Europe and exchange good practices and strategies on how sport federations and sport clubs can contribute to society and strengthen communities through inclusion of marginalised groups using sport as a platform.
The fifth edition of the European Sport Platform was incredibly successful , and clearly showed that the cooperation between ENGSO and its member organisations acts as a valuable source of knowledge and exchange, and adds an added value to the European sport movement.
The key value of our flagship event is to provide an open space for all representatives of the sport movement to express their opinions and exchange information with colleagues from different countries and positions.
The three-day event gave the participants an opportunity to reflect, connect and inspire each other with new, innovative solutions for sport to ensure inclusion in all forms and aspects. The approach adopted together with NOC*NSF, which created the perfect environment for the event, was not simply to speak about the topic but also to discuss the risk and issues behind the work towards inclusiveness: the inclusive paradox! Sometimes sport entities are so focused on including a certain group of people that they end up excluding the ones who were included before.
We are extremely satisfied with the outcome of the European Sport Platform 2022 in Papendal, in terms of content, logistics and outcomes of the discussions: definitely a great achievement. We believe that with each year the event grows and offers a more valuable experience to sport stakeholders in Europe who are ready to work and invest in grassroots sport to strengthen our communities.