Participatory Football and its Implications for Social Inclusion

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Purpose: In recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of initiatives using sport as a tool to foster social inclusion and integration both on and off the pitch. Many of these initiatives have been accompanied by the development of sport-based methodologies that seek to achieve these goals by encouraging participation, fair-play and communication. One such method is known as football3.

Named after its ‘three halves’ (pre-match discussion, match, post-match discussion), players collectively decide on the rules beforehand and, following each match, reflect on their behaviour and the behaviour of their opponents, with points awarded for goals as well as for fair play. As football3 is played without referees, players are also encouraged to resolve differences through dialogue and compromise

The purpose of the study is to measure football3’s efficacy at promoting various social and personal skills related to social inclusion and integration in four different programmes run by NGOs throughout Europe, and to discuss how these findings relate not only to social inclusion and integration, but to participation in sport more generally.

Methods: Using a pre-post experiment with groups randomly assigned to playing football3 or regular football, we investigate football3 and its effect on indicators related to satisfaction, social inclusion, empowerment, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. Indicators are composites measured through survey questions using a 5-point Likert scale. Each indicator is measured for validity and reliability. Participants in four local NGOs were sorted into a treatment group and control group. Paired sample t-tests were used to compare outcomes in these indicators for the two groups.

Results: Preliminary results show that participants participating in football3 activities have higher average scores in social inclusion (+0.3) and self-efficacy (+0.4), and that both of these composite indicators are valid and reliable.

Conclusions: The results show promising impacts in terms of social inclusion and self-efficacy, and this promise is further bolstered by the fact that the control participants were taking part in sport for development programmes, thus showing that a focused methodology can have added value even in contexts where social development is a primary objective.

The results for social inclusion are also encouraging as they relate to promoting physical activity in marginalised groups such as migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable populations that are often excluded from traditional sport offerings and are at risk for physical inactivity. More research needs to be done to concretely explore this link.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHEPA Europe Conference 2019
Place of PublicationOdense, Denmark
Publication date27.08.2019
Publication statusPublished - 27.08.2019
EventAnnual Meeting and 10th Conference of HEPA Europe - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 28.08.201930.08.2019
Conference number: 15

ID: 5265334

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