After the long period of pandemic, which has hit the sports sector as a whole and local sports clubs in particular hard, a strategic approach is necessary to boost and promote the role of sport and physical activity in building a more resilient and sustainable society, as part of the wider process of economic and social recovery.
Sport and physical activity will need to be mainstreamed into economic and social development strategies. The value of sport as a driver for social, economic and environmental sustainability should be reinforced and the importance of social dialogue on the issue of well-being and physical activity in the workplace, recognized.
The value of sport and physical activity at school should be better valued, particularly focussing on inland areas and those disadvantaged due to their geographical characteristics.
In the aftermath of the health emergency, it is necessary to make the values that sport and physical activity represent in European policy more visible, while affording them full dignity in the same way as other European policies. Therefore, not just cohesion policies are needed, but a real process of empowerment - a genuine sports transition that attaches significant value to the impact generated on people's wellbeing and quality of life.
It is therefore important to:
- include the sport deprivation rate - or the rate of exclusion from benefiting from a necessary good: the right to practise sports - in the Eurostat list of indices to measure material deprivation;
- make all EU funding for the period 2021-2027 available to the sports sector, considering sport and physical activity to be an investment in the individual and collective well-being of communities;
- provide for a greater share of the total amount of funding allocated to sport and cross-sectoral cooperation in the Erasmus + programme;
- develop plans to assist the sport sector in the event of (economic, social and health) crises and emergencies, including preparedness plans, with the forms of administrative simplification needed to deal with heavy bureaucracy, especially for local sports clubs;
- encourage support for active citizenship networks in achieving these objectives at local level, through partnerships and co-design between public policies and networks.