Sport stands for Ukraine: ENGSO meeting in cooperation with UNHCR

Following the statement on Ukraine, ENGSO in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), organised a webinar for its members to present the long- and mid-term role and the contribution of the sport movement in supporting the people of Ukraine.


The meeting was held on Monday, 9 May 2022, in an online format, and moderated by Sara Massini, ENGSO Secretary General.


Stefan Bergh, ENGSO President, welcomed the participants and highlighted the important role the European sport movement has played and could have in supporting the people of Ukraine.


Mr Nick Sore, UNHCR Regional Bureau for Europe, provided an update about the UNHCR’s sport sector role and their response on the situation in Ukraine. He also highlighted the importance of the collaboration between sport organisations and the role they play in supporting the Ukrainian refugees.


UNHCR sources: Situation on the refugees from Ukraine Situation in Ukraine


Sara Massini, ENGSO Secretary General, explained the actions that ENGSO will implement and mentioned the outcome of the Erasmus+ funded SPIRIT project – the mental well-being coaching toolkit. This toolkit is a coach development program with a collection of resources to protect and enhance mental well-being skills of refugees and other sport participants.

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The meeting continued with ENGSO members and representatives of National

Olympic Committees and sport federations sharing the activities they are:

implementing to support the Ukrainian refugees, including UFEC, Finlands Svenska

Idrott, Hungarian Competitive Sport Federation, NOC*NSF, Sport Austria, Swedish

Sports Confederation, Hellenic Paralympic Committee, UK Sport, French Olympic

Committee, Sports Confederation of Portugal, Kosovo Olympic Committee,

Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations, Latvian Sports Federations Council, Croatian Olympic Committee and EU Sport Link.


The main learning outcomes of the meeting are:


1) The need for the national sports organisations (platforms) to act as a moderator between national authorities and the grassroots level in order to indicate the clear needs of the field and to support the clubs and federations in getting the available support.

2) The second aspect underlined by many members is the uncertainty behind the sustainability of the free sports programmes provided to the children and families who flee their homes. Looking at the programmes from the long-term perspective, both the resources (money) and accessibility (transportation, location) can be a challenge. This can create a risk of confusion and quitting such programmes.


The meeting concluded with knowledge and ideas exchange on the topic of refugees

inclusion with the help of the European grassroots sport movement that will be provided to the new website dedicated to the action of the sport movement for Ukraine initiated by the UNHCR sport office. After the summer ENGSO and its members will gather again to follow up on the status of the initiatives.

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