Vienna Action Plan


Football is the world’s most popular sport with an enormous potential for social and economic development. We do not see it as a goal in itself but rather as a powerful tool for development. Football engages and excites people across the vast divides of national, regional, racial, religious, ethnic, gender, age, ability, social and economic differences. It is a universal language which, when given the chance, most people speak freely, one of the few times when they can understand each other.

We, representatives of 63 development NGOs and initiatives, development through sports organisations, football clubs and associations, fan initiatives, players’ unions, sport organisations and media, academic institutions as well as governmental bodies including national development agencies, United Nations and European Union institutions, from 26 different European and African countries, gathered here at the Vienna Conference “Development through Football” from 23-24 April 2010, affirm our strong commitment to make full use of the potential of football and other sports to overcome underdevelopment, poverty, address gender inequity, all forms of discrimination and social exclusion.

We are dedicated to engage and involve in a networking process to exchange experience and good practice.

I. We call for football governing bodies including federations, associations and clubs as well as the international and national governmental bodies, development agencies and sport sponsors to:

  • Recognize and understand the real contribution football and sport can make towards sustainable social development Initiate and support development through football and activities, in particular educational and awareness raising programmes
  • Challenge racism and all forms of discrimination in sports and foster the inclusion and involvement of minorities and migrants through and in sport
  • Design and adopt Social Responsibility policies
  • Support and drive the use of football and sport for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), well after 2015
  • Make use of the of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa and subsequent big sporting events as mediums for creating awareness on social and development issues
  • Pro-actively address the trafficking and exploitation of young and under-aged players, vulnerable groups and sexual exploitation within the context of sport
  • Encourage and support initiatives in the area of development through sport, especially at grass-roots level and make use of current and past players and athletes from the South as role models for young people
  • Establish partnerships with organizations committed to use football as a means of fostering development, eradicating poverty and raising awareness on the environment and global inequity and encourage South-South cooperation
  • Assign at least 0.7% of the total revenues to Social Responsibility initiatives promoting
  • Development and anti-discrimination


II. Practical Recommendations


Development Education through sport: Targeting schools and young people

  • Use non-formal education to link football, as well as others sports, with teaching in marginalized communities that are not involved with the mainstream education system or may not learn effectively in a conventional classroom environment
  • Design educational strategies which incorporate sport to attract young people by introducing them to important issues in the areas of health and sanitation, civil responsibilities, discrimination and overcoming social barriers
  • Include development through sports and anti-discrimination in the curricula of educational institutions


Tackling Gender Inequity and Raising Gender Awareness

  • Raise awareness among teachers, coaches, media, sports bodies and other stakeholders to ensure accessibility to all kind of sports by males and females alike.
  • Adopt strategies against stereotyping based on gender, sexual orientation and other forms of discrimination and protect all people who challenge social norms by their free choice and exercise of sport.
  • Assess the socio-cultural context and select adequate type of sports (gradual steps) specifically adapted to various target groups.
  • Ensure pedagogical and didactical considerations with regard to co-educational and other group dynamic forms with regard to gender.
  • Pro-active identification and creation of (especially) female role models and involving them in a systematic and conscious way.
  • Claim and ensure safe and adequate spaces especially for girls and women to play sports
  • Identify and involve the main “gatekeepers” (people who prohibit female participation) and include in every stage of the planning, implementation and evaluation process.


Media and Campaigning

  • Ensure consciousness raising coverage that does not reproduce prejudice and stereotyping and report success and positive stories to provide a balanced perception on vulnerable and underprivileged groups
  • Establish cooperation with private and public media to report on sport for development issues and make information accessible especially to marginalized societies
  • Design a strategy to build media capacity by training and sensitizing journalists in the area of development through sport
  • Consult and actively exchange with development NGOs and experts from the South; and build partnerships with projects, using platforms such as the International Platform on Sport and Development or Football for Hope


Sports and Conflict Resolution

  • While sport in itself cannot solve conflicts it should be used as a tool for preventing violence, ethnic and regional tensions and war
  • Use sport as a resource for dialogue and cultural exchange in post-conflict areas
  • Establish long-term programmes through sports to reconcile former war and conflict parties, including child combatants soldiers and other victims
  • Engage, consult and cooperate with local grass root NGOs and local political actors
  • Train and advise local NGO‘s in order to take advantage of the funding opportunities available

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