Skip to main content

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt III)

Part III of our series on how sports for development and peace works.

EXAMPLE 3: SPORTS IS BASED ON SHARED RULES AND AGREED OUTCOMES

It is one of the characteristics of war and many forms of violence that there is an absence of normal, commonly accepted rules.

Sport offers an alternative to this.

Being in a contained area which, while contested, is nevertheless bound by rules and conventions, and is adjudicated by a recognised and impartial referee goes some way towards ensuring that those used to, or who are seeking, a world without norms and without rules can be countered, both conceptually and literally.

The similarities football, and some other sports, share with peace talks and other forms of dispute resolution are manifest.

At another level, playing in a team with others with whom an individual might have been obliged to fight and or to hate, can provide ground on which mutual understanding and compassion can be gained.

The most basic rule of football is that hands cannot touch the ball. This is understood by seemingly everyone, boy or girl, over the age of about 7. In understanding and accepting such rules, especially ones which are reliant on unnatural habits, such as using feet not hands, can underline the value of seemingly arbitrary rules when made in mutual agreement with another party for a shared outcome, a vital component on the journey to peace.

The inculcation of a rules based system, which is vital for a game (in this case) to go ahead, to the collective enjoyment of all, allows individuals to accept the validity of rules that may apply to post-conflict scenarios, for instance.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-UNOSDP - Is the IOC fool's gold?

This is a longer version of an article published on SportandDev.org
With the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace closed down by the global body, there is undoubtedly a void in this space in which many of us here work.
But, for all the high profile oomph the UNOSDP added to the world of sport for good, it’s passing need not be seen as devastating.
For one, the work the UNOSDP has already done in its 16 years of life has laid a platform for the development of sport for social justice. While many of us knew for years that sport had a wider purpose beyond mere business or entertainment, the UNOSDP has provided a base of credibility that may have otherwise taken much longer to establish.
While much of the work is, in many ways, still to be done, the UNOSDP has left a positive legacy on which we can all build.
More problematic is the shifting of the UNOSDP’s brief to the IOC.
Obliging the IOC to administer to the peace and development facets of modern sport raises three qu…

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…