Sports champions are increasingly involved in social participation

Sports champions are increasingly involved in social participation

World Cup 2022 in Qatar? Very bad idea if we want to believe Toni Kroos, the Real Madrid midfielder who plays the role of the master of the German national team. For three reasons, he said in a podcast on March 30: “The first is the unacceptable working conditions in stadium sites (…), then the fact that homosexuality is punishable and punished in Qatar (…) and finally it is not a football country.” Close the ban.

Such an apparent position taken by a very rare international football star. But the German is not alone. A few days earlier, his teammates against Iceland had shown a black shirt in defense of human rights in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. As such, messages were broadcast by eleven messages from Norway and the Netherlands.

→ Read. Football: Should Qatar 2022 be boycotted?

The athletes ’obligations are clearly increasing, often for major and sometimes more political reasons, such as the decision in December 2020 by French international Antoine Griezmann to terminate a contract with the Chinese brand Huawe in support of the Muslim minority. . China. In recent months, they have developed a new desire for expression.

Social networks and the “awakening” movement

“Athletes seek wider civic participation, especially in the social sphere, and they demand it in most opinion polls on this topic by the International Olympic Committee or the National Olympic Committee. They are more conservative in political or religious matters.” Stefan Diagana, world champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 1997. Participates in the discussions launched by the International Olympic Committee’s Committee of Athletes about the possible dilution of Article 50 of the Olympic Charter, which limits the expression of athletes to places or stadiums.

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Why this modern madness that goes beyond the traditional charitable obligations of associations? The most important change comes from social networks, where they can express themselves on their own initiative and without filteringThe advisor and coach, notes Karen Bloch, a member of the Scientific Committee of the Sports and Citizenship Research Center. Their agents or partners have also realized that they are interested in positioning themselves in certain topics at times. Then there is the question, often from the young audience, who anticipates a stance for today’s athletes, such as yesterday’s artists. “

William Gasparini, sociologist and professor at the Faculty of Sports Sciences at the University of Strasbourg, concludes “The atmosphere has woken up, this awareness about the major problems that come to us from the United States that are of great concern to young athletes. Winning is no longer enough, you have to express yourself. This is true most of the time, but we can also notice that while it is being explored Often for major environmental reasons or to combat racism, commitments against social inequality or the excesses of capitalism remain rare. Footballers are not today’s legion to speak out against the Premier League. “

Need the support of heroes

The new chairperson of the Lycra Sport Committee, Rachel Khan, has noticed this “Freedom of expression is always an excellent thing for promoting basic rights. But beware, importing a culture from parts of the United States that does not necessarily align with our European cosmopolitanism., The case law clerk confirms. We might also ask ourselves the issue of championship support on these issues, especially by sports federations that are often very cautious in this regard. “.

Indeed, the institutions are still steeped in the traditional culture of sport that must continue its course, and above all else, care about performance. However, some of the newly elected leaders are promoting a different rhetoric. Associations can play a role in education and trainingStefan Diagana leads. The challenges of communication and managing a bad reputation are much greater for athletes today than they were yesterday. Maybe we should score them better on the track for eminent athletes? For his part, he must also pay attention to commands to take a position that is starting to emerge, especially on social networks. A kind of freedom of expression is at stake as well, and there are hits to be taken, especially in an era of polarized debates. It is up to the athletes to find the balance. “


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“By expressing themselves more, the heroes are also helping to change society’s view of sports. If we are not seen as essential in this health crisis today, it is because we may not be participating sufficiently in the civic debate.” The new president of the French Badminton Federation, Johan Pinel, is part of this generation of federal presidents who are fighting to unite society for sports institutions. In addition, the union’s general assembly set goals for the first time on April 17th ‘Social performance’ : The Van Morgen Club can take action for isolated people, migrants and the homeless, for exampleConfirms. All this helps transform the sport’s image, and it is clear that high-ranking athletes have a role to play in it. “

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