Ministers of Sport and representatives of sports bodies from over 20 countries gathered in Doha today to discuss the important role played by sport to promote innovation, economic growth, social inclusion and cohesion.
Participants considered how sport can play an important role in addressing some of the most important economic, social and political challenges facing the world today, including youth unemployment, corruption and poor health.
“Today was an important step towards better and stronger collaboration between Ministers of Sport so that we can build a case for sport to be given higher priority at a policy level,” said H.E. Minister Al Ali.
Richard Attias, Executive Producer of Doha GOALS, said: “This is not about lobbying for more money to host events. This is about recognizing that sport has an impact on education, on health, on social integration and on the economy. We look forward to building on this first Summit over the next 12 months and reconvening in Doha next year.”
The ministers and senior representatives considered a range of specific ideas that can be pursued at a national and international level to support the development of sports policy. The statement, which was published by Doha GOALS after the discussion, highlighted key policy aims which they called on public policy makers to focus on over the next 12 months.
The meeting focused in particular on three new concerns which they pledged to co-ordinate action on during the next year:
- Countries from less developed economies who are current beneficiaries of aid and development funding highlighted the fact that investment in sports infrastructure and sports activity should be seen as a legitimate use of development funds. Recipients of such development funding called for the rules of these grants to be amended to allow for wider support for sports facilities and endeavors in the context of development funding.
- The delegates highlighted the need to focus on the impact of sporting events beyond the best-known major competitions. While lower profile events may not have the same weight with international audiences there are still numerous benefits for smaller events to be held in smaller countries where investment can be more manageable but the impact on real terms just as big.
- The delegates pledged to do more to share information between nations, within the context of the G20, the G8 and other international groups, in order to fight the corruption that can blight sport. The global interdependence of elite sport in particular means that these issues affect all nations. Major sporting events are also a showcase for the importance of nations collaborating across borders to promote transparency and to fight corruption.
The conclusions of the discussions will be shared amongst senior sports policy makers to develop a specific policy program to pursue in 2014.
The discussion was hosted by H.E. Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sports, and overseen by Lord Mandelson, chairman of Global Counsel, and co-hosted by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak Al-Thani, Executive Director of Doha GOALS and Richard Attias, Executive Producer of Doha GOALS.