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- 15 January 2015 00:00
- in Government
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Sport can help to heal the wounds
In an article in the Telegraph (15th Jan), Lord Sebastian Coe makes a heartfelt call for sport to be given a place at the table in the fight against terrorism and the atrocities we all saw last week in Paris. He argued not only that leaders of sport should have had a role to play in the solidarity march, but he also provided a timely reminder of the role that sport plays in breaking down social barriers, often providing ‘the arena’ upon which young people can find renewed purpose, self belief, unity, positivity and inclusion.
In his article Lord Coe celebrated the multi cultural make up of the London 2012 Games Makers, and concluded with this:
"The International Olympic Committee, through its recent Agenda 2020 proposals, is now much more attuned to working with politicians and NGOs to embed sport into wider social policy. There is now a greater recognition under President Thomas Bach that the worlds of sport and politics must engage in a new dialogue. This approach must also be reflected, I believe, in any new initiatives launched in the aftermath of Paris. Sport needs to be at this table.
In addition, the race to host the 2024 Summer Games is starting soon – and it is likely that bids will come from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This bid process offers yet another ground-breaking opportunity to bring to the fore the positive benefits of hosting the world’s greatest sporting event. We made some progress through London 2012 but more can be done to make sure that this really forms part of the legacy of bidding for – and ultimately hosting – major sporting events.
As we head to the general election in May, and the political parties set out their stalls, let’s hope a renewed commitment to community sports is embraced by all. Sport remains the most powerful social worker in all our neighbourhoods, and, globally, the deftest and most effective soft power. Both these qualities are needed now more than ever”.