A four-dimensional strategy will be unveiled at a major ministerial forum tomorrow, to help governments sustain the sport sector ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commonwealth Secretariat’s ‘Data, Digital, Diversify and anti-Discrimination’ strategy will help the sector adapt to the new normal and continue contributing to health and wellbeing, community spirit and economic growth.
The sport industry is expected to experience a recession several times worse than the average sector of any economy, according to a new Commonwealth supported study. Thousands of jobs, livelihoods and social benefits could be at risk.
A side effect of measures enforced to suppress the virus has been a decline in levels of physical activity. This has intensified an existing inactivity crisis, which costs the global economy $68 billion in direct health care and lost productivity.
The ‘data’ pillar provides critical research on COVID-19’s impact on the sport sector to help countries monitor and better target responses.
The ‘digital’ pillar offers a repository of COVID-19-adapted virtual solutions, including training courses and knowledge products, which are reproducible and accessible to all member countries.
The ‘diversify’ pillar contains policy guidelines to modify modes of delivery to get more people active safely and spread investment and resources to grow domestic sport markets.
The final pillar includes a call to action to intensify the fight against racism and discrimination in and through sport in the Commonwealth.
Supported by the four pillars, the strategy will help governments design, modify and implement resilient sport policies and programmes to tackle the pandemic’s impact on the sector.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “It is clear the sport and physical activity sector warrants special consideration in ongoing responses to the current pandemic and in preparation for any possible resurgence or future outbreaks.
“To assist our member countries with this, the Commonwealth Secretariat has brought together a suite of new resources, expertly designed to help them respond to the new COVID reality and to support sectors and populations so that they become less vulnerable and more pandemic-resilient.”
The Commonwealth Ministerial Forum on Sport and COVID-19, which takes place virtually on 23 July, will be attended by ministers, senior officials and representatives of sport bodies and regional organisations.
The virtual forum will hear from member countries on how they are responding to and planning to recover from the COVID-19 shocks in the sport sector and ensure the Secretariat’s work is finely tuned to their existing and emerging needs.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Amina Mohamed, will chair the virtual forum.
She said: “Today, we find ourselves in an unprecedented global health crisis, which has touched almost every corner of the world and our lives, including our mobility.
“I am hoping that through this forum, we can leverage the Commonwealth cooperation and partnership to collectively overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic in the sport sector and beyond.
“Responding to new challenges requires coming up with fresh solutions on the back to existing approaches so this gathering is an important opportunity for Commonwealth countries to share their experiences on what has and what has not worked in tackling COVID-19 disruptions.”