On Tuesday 27 September, for the first time the youth intergroup and the sport intergroup of the European Parliament organised a joint session titled “Youth and Sports: Team-Up for Inclusive Societies”, thanks to the cooperation between the two intergroup and organisations like ENGSO Youth and the European Youth Forum. The Youth & Sport event saw different stakeholders discussing about youth engagement in sport activities and the inclusion of marginalised youth in the society through sport; namely, Marc Tarabella, Co-President of the Sport Intergroup presided part of the session that saw the attendance of European Commission members.
The ISF was invited to take part in the event and the ISF President, Mr. Laurent Petrynka, addressed the audience together with other panelists coming from academic institutions, sport federations and clubs and youth organisations.
Notably, Mr. Petrynka illustrated the ISF programme, by highlighting the diversity (in terms of sport and of participation) of the World School Championships and of the Gymnasiade. He continued by describing the consistent involvement of the Federation in European issues: in particular, he underlined European School Sport Day initiative and the funding of the Volunteering Through Sport Project through the Erasmus+ Programme. He also stressed the role of the European ISF body in the organisation of continental events such as the European Schools Football Championship. Finally, Mr Petrynka presented the fundamental role of the educational programme within each School Sport event, which allows young athletes and volunteers to create a solid legacy of values and awareness that can help them in their future personal and professional life.
From football-related programmes that encourage kids to perform better at school to refugees integration through sport activities, from youth employability to academic research projects, all the panelists showed the different ways by which sport can be a tool to empower young people, integrate them and provide them with specific hard and soft skills. Importantly, all the participants highlighted the key role of cooperation between sport and youth organisations to achieve the goal of a more inclusive European society.
To conclude the session, Antonio Silva Mendes, former European Commission Director for Youth and Sport gave his last speech at the European Parliament by stressing the importance to involve young generation through creative and active participation: this can only happen by means of a cross-sectorial approach, of which sport, in all its forms, must be part.