ISCA Secretariat: Vester Voldgade 100, 2, DK-1552 Copenhagen, Denmark - CVR 29 50 05 41 Tel: +45 29 48 55 51 / [email protected]
  • “Why our activities are more sustainable than traditional team sports”: New podcast
    Although England was one of Europe’s worst hit countries during the global pandemic, the MOVE Beyond project’s UK partners have still succeeded in connecting asylum seekers in Plymouth to active transport opportunities in their community – and even to employment. In our latest MOVE Beyond podcast, we find out why Suvi Rehell from Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS), Jamie Tresidder from SPARC social enterprise and Lucie Vickers from StreetGames chose to think beyond sport for their pilot and created a sustainable initiative that will continue to grow after the project wraps up in December. As the Activities and Wellbeing Coordinator at Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS), it is part of Suvi Rehell’s daily work to find activity providers and coordinate the participation of about 350 service users (asylum seekers) in Plymouth. Suvi joined forces with SPARC social enterprise in South-West England last year to work on ISCA’s MOVE Beyond project and saw the opportunity to meet a pressing need for the asylum seekers she works with. While SPARC and StreetGames had originally planned to use the project’s pilot activity as a bridge to connect asylum seekers with local sports clubs, Suvi noted that overcoming basic barriers to getting to the clubs – such as transport – was the first priority, and that active transport could be the answer. “Often in situations when you’re asking people ‘What would you like to do?’, even if the question is related to sport, what comes up are the really practical problems of ‘Well, I can’t get there’ or ‘I need support with everyday struggles such as transportation’,” she says in the podcast. These concerns also came out in the focus groups they conducted together with the refugees before starting the pilot, which helped tailor the activities to their needs. Jamie Tresidder says that making active travel more of a possibility and reducing isolation also complemented his social organisation’s ambitions perfectly. “The main focus of SPARC is to remove barriers such as cost, travel, stigmatism, previous negative experiences, lack of facilities – all of these physical barriers that can prevent people from accessing the power and positivity of sport and physical activity,” he says. “With the activities that we’ve chosen to deliver [in the MOVE Beyond project], they’re all a lot more sustainable than your traditional team sports. We’ve set up walking groups, cycling and swimming, [which] was the next on the agenda [and was stopped by the lockdown]. So they’re all things that people can carry on doing in their own time beyond the funding period of the project.”
    “Why our activities are more sustainable than traditional team sports”: New podcast
  • Landmark decision: Esport is an association-based grassroots sport – and should be exempt from VAT
    Photo: Palle Skov/DGI.  Esport is a grassroots sport on equal terms with handball, gymnastics and other association-based activities. A new ruling from the Danish Tax Assessment Council (Skatterådet) states that esports associations must be exempt from VAT – which ISCA member DGI describes as a landmark and important decision. Is esport an association-based grassroots sport and, as such, a part of civil society? The Danish Tax Assessment Council (Skatterådet) says “Yes” in a new ruling that makes esports associations exempt from paying VAT. DGI brought the case forward and the decision is ground-breaking, DGI President Charlotte Bach Thomassen says. “At DGI we have always emphasised that esport is an association-based activity in line with sports such as football, shooting and table tennis. That’s why it is essential that the Danish Tax Assessment Council’s ruling states that esports associations under DGI’s umbrella should be exempt from VAT like other sports associations. The ruling will help to ensure the continued development of association-based sport, where children and young people have the opportunity to play esport regardless of their skill level, talent and social background.” Significantly more people play esports in an associationMore and more children and young people play esports in a community sport association. In recent years, DGI has observed a significant growth in the number of associations that compete with a mouse, screen, focus and endurance, and the number of esports members is steadily increasing. “Playing esports in a sports association is not only about being good at Counter-Strike, Fortnite or other games. It is the community that is the key, in a safe environment with a positive tone and a focus on an active lifestyle, where physical, mental and social health are at the centre of digital activities,” Charlotte Bach Thomassen says. DGI brought the case forward – and wonDGI brought the case forward to the Danish Tax Assessment Council and it was accepted. As a result, it is now a formality that esports associations do not need to have VAT accounts and that esport is exempt from VAT just like other voluntary community sports associations. The Danish Tax Assessment Council confirms in its ruling that esport is a sports discipline governed by the concept of amateur sport according to section 13 of the Danish VAT Act. “If voluntary associations had to handle VAT accounts it would undermine the work they are doing to attract children and young people to their associations. The associations’ coaches and officials should be focusing their energy on creating positive training environments for their members, not on maintaining their VAT accounts,” Charlotte Bach Thomassen says. The initiative to bring the case forward to Danish Tax Assessment Council began in 2017. A case was brought to the European Court of Justice about amateur sport and VAT, which raised concerns on the VAT status of Danish esport associations. ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby points out Denmark has not only made a pioneering step in removing VAT requirements for community esports clubs, but it has also underlined the value to civil society of delivering esports activities in a club setting or association. This is also of growing relevance to ISCA members, he says. “The ruling from Denmark is significant. It underlines in a broader sense that civil society has a unique role to play in promoting wellbeing for citizens,” he says. “Bringing young people together in safe, educational and healthy environments, based on strong values, will always be a benefit. This is also the case for esport. Grassroots sport organisations from all over the world, including ISCA members, are now promoting and delivering association-based esports activities, and this is a natural step to engage young people and harness their passion for gaming and esport. Making the activities VAT free in Denmark is a testament to the societal value of civil society.” Facts about esport and DGIIn 2019 there were 7742 esports members in 187 associations. In 2018 there were 4912 members, an increase of just under 58%.Health and physical activity are important elements of esports associations under DGI’s umbrella, because as a player and coach you perform better when you are in good physical shape than when you are unfit.In collaboration with eSport Denmark, Youth Association Ungdomsringen, the Danish Association for Company Sports and with support from the Center for Ludomania and Anti Doping Denmark, DGI has been working on a Code of Ethics for Esports. The Code of Ethics is a resource to guide associations on how good conduct in esports can be implemented and adhered to.In 2019, 969 people went to training or took a course led by DGI Esport, which was also a significant increase in participation. A common theme of all of these training programmes is health in the broader WHO context, which encompasses physical, social and mental health. Read more: Why DGI works with esports (more in Danish) Article translated from DGI newspiece
    Landmark decision: Esport is an association-based grassroots sport – and should be exempt from VAT
  • Judges to select 15 winning ideas from Global Design Challenge for Sport and Physical Activity
    From Friday to Monday (26-29 June) 148 teams took part in the Global Design Challenge for Sport and Physical Activity. These teams included 800 motivated people from across the world who joined the 72-hour “Hackathon” to pitch their ideas on how to get people physically active and sport back on track again during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday 29 June at 10:00 CEST the competition closed and all teams had submitted a 500-word presentation and a maximum 2-minute video to pitch their idea. An international panel of judges is now evaluating the ideas to select the best ones that will enter the next phases. The selection phases include: Judging: The international panel of judges filters the entries to select the top 50 and then carries out a refined selection of the 15 best entries. Pitching: The 15 winning teams will be invited to “pitch” their ideas to a group of sports organisations, investors, and other experts who will assess how to turn the ideas into reality. Incubation: Teams that are successful at pitching stage will be provided with an opportunity to incubate and develop their idea. Matching: All entries submitted will be visible to the organisers, who may initiate further interaction with any team to explore the possibility of developing their idea. ISCA, as a partner of the initiative, will be part of this process and we aim to have an overview of all selected ideas by the end of this week. Find out more about the competition at the official website.
    Judges to select 15 winning ideas from Global Design Challenge for Sport and Physical Activity
  • Integration of Refugees Through Sport Networking Platform kicks off at online conference
    The official partner kick-off meeting of the Integration of Refugees Trough Sport (IRTS) Networking Platform took place during an online conference on 23 June 2020, where 80 participants from 60 organisations in 27 countries gathered for the first time to form the network. The online platform currently includes 46 stakeholders and 10 partner institutions working in the field of refugee integration and inclusion through sport, including the UNHCR, whose representatives Nicolas Brass and Nick Sore presented at the conference. There are 3 key aims of the IRTS Networking Platform: to share experience/knowledge, to learn from each other and find new partners for future projects. The conference started with an opening speech from ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby. While expressing his thanks to the participants for offering their expertise, he stated that we all aspire to a life where nobody is a refugee, but we have not yet created such a world. Taking into consideration the reality, he mentioned that sport cannot reduce the number of people who need to take refuge, but that these types of actions can increase life quality of people who become refugees. He also underlined that the IRTS Networking Platform will be a “power-enhancing platform” for the participating organisations. “You represent the change-makers, the doers from local, national and international organisations,” he said. “Together you can deliver better and more actions in the field of Integration of Refugees Through Sport.”Yves Le Lostecque from the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission also participated in the kick-off meeting and expressed how happy he was with the launch of this networking platform. “This is something that the European Commission, they have been considering for the past few years. We are very happy that this platform and this network will become a reality,” he said. “[The IRTS Networking Platform] is a very important initiative because the efforts will continue. Thanks to you, we will have stronger efforts of coordination in the coming years.” Le Lostecque also gave the good news that the budget for youth and sports will increase significantly during the next Erasmus+ Programme (2021-2027).''Partnership is the cornerstone of our work because alone, we cannot achieve what we want.''The meeting welcomed two experts from UNHCR: Nicolas Brass, Senior External Engagement Coordinator, Bureau for Europe, and Nick Sore, Senior Refugee Sports Coordinator, Division of External Relations. They gave a presentation on the displacement situation in Europe from 2015 to today. They defined sport as a positive tool for peaceful coexistence and highlighted the importance of the mentoring and the learning programs offered by the IRTS Networking platform in the understanding, transferring experience, gaining knowledge and partnership. “Sport is fun and returns normalcy in the lives of people who have faced huge adversity,” Sore said. Brass concluded by saying that the network had great potential value to UNHCR’s work by connecting them with people working in so many partners and communities around Europe: “Partnership is the cornerstone of our work because alone we cannot achieve what we want.” As the last speaker of the first session, Daniela Conti from UISP International, Italy, made her presentation on ''How stakeholders and partners located across Europe can create and deliver solutions to an international challenge by building and empowering the IRTS Network''. She stated that sport is not a magic box that can solve all the problems of refugees, but we have a fantastic role in this platform to cooperate with other organisations. She suggested to unite solutions at the national, European and international levels in the fields of exchange of good practice, campaigning and advocacy. “A sports organisation can be the spider in the middle of a big web [of stakeholders],” she said. What is the IRTS Networking Platform?In the second part of the meeting, the ISCA team introduced the 4 pillars of the IRTS Networking Platform: Mentoring Programme, Events, Award Scheme, and Online Courses.IRTS Mentoring Programme aims at connecting individuals and organisations from the IRTS field through 2 rounds of 12-months mentorship. The objective of mentoring is to bring together less and more experienced individuals from the field to build an international network and build the capacity of the whole sector. The call for applications for mentees is open and the deadline for applying is the end of July 2020. Regarding Events, 3 international conferences have been planned in order to gather stakeholders from the Integration of Refugees Through Sport Network over 3 years. For the Online Courses, ISCA’s online learning platform learn.isca.org currently hosts a basic course with peer-to-peer advice for organisations and individuals who are working with refugees and asylum seekers through sport and physical activities. Three brand new courses will be launched in 2020-2022. Finally, IRTS Awards is designed to evaluate, celebrate, and encourage good practices and highlight good initiatives. ''Sport helped me to integrate into society''In the last part of the conference, Ali Noghandoost, who escaped persecution in his native Iran and arrived in Croatia where he received asylum status as well as a promising sporting future in the country, shared his experiences with us. He is an elite sportsman now in the taekwondo club Jastreb in Croatia, and is also a candidate for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He explained his challenging journey, the difficulties he had in learning the local language, financial issues, and finally the process of his integration as being a taekwondo trainer. When he was asked about the effect of the sport on his life, Ali Noghandoost said that it facilitated his integration to the society, although there are many people who struggle with depression and difficulties in the refugee camps, he did not give up and used his dedication to his sport as a way forward. The IRTS Networking Platform partners will meet again in November at a conference planned in Copenhagen, which will combine in-person and online opportunities to attend. Visit the new IRTS Networking Platform websiteBy Hilal Erkoca, ISCAPhoto: Shutterstock
    Integration of Refugees Through Sport Networking Platform kicks off at online conference
  • New network unites Integration of Refugees Through Sport initiatives
    On World Refugee Day, ISCA is launching a brand new network in the field of Integration of Refugees Through Sport (IRTS). The network will establish and help maintain links between project leaders supported by the European Commission and managers of similar initiatives across Europe, with the aim of highlighting and spreading good practice. The IRTS Networking Platform is supported by the EU to unite IRTS initiatives and build organisations’ and individuals’ capacities to achieve more impact through online and offline learning and mentoring opportunities. ISCA has invited 69 organisations from 20 countries that have run or are running EU-supported IRTS projects to start building the IRTS Network. Their representatives will gather for the first time on Tuesday 23 June at an online conference featuring guest speakers from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Italy’s largest sport for all NGO working with refugees UISP International and the EU Sport Unit, and Iranian refugee Ali Noghandoost, who is a candidate for the Tokyo Olympics in Taekwondo. Open calls will be released over the coming months for other organisations to join the network through a mentoring programme, an awards scheme and an international conference. Uniting and scaling tested solutions to a global challengeSince 2016, these diverse projects have looked at different ways of facilitating the integration of refugees through grassroots sport. Thousands of stakeholders located across Europe have therefore been dedicated to creating and delivering solutions to a global challenge. This is because world is experiencing the highest levels of forced displacement on record, with more than 70 million people having had to flee their homes. Large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers face exclusion, lack of livelihood opportunities, and grave risks to their mental and physical health. Globally, 3 out of 4 refugees have lived in exile for more than 5 years, many for more than 20 years. This situation calls for human and innovative ways to enhance the inclusion and integration of refugees. Civil society has an important role to play in addressing this. Sport and physical activity can be a powerful tool for inclusion, relief, health promotion, and human connection. It is the time to take the next steps to scale tested solutions from the sport and physical activity sector to the benefit of refugees and society! Strength in numbersBy creating a community of likeminded organisations, the IRTS Networking Platform will help these organisations discover their strength in numbers by offering in-person and online opportunities to meet, learn, inspire each other and gain more visibility for their initiatives.
    New network unites Integration of Refugees Through Sport initiatives
“Why our activities are more sustainable than traditional team sports”: New podcast
Although England was one of Europe’s worst hit countries during the global pandemic, the MOVE Beyond project’s UK partners have still succeeded in connecting asylum seekers in Plymouth to active transport opportunities in their community – and even to employment. In our latest MOVE Beyond podcast, we find out why Suvi Rehell from Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS), Jamie Tresidder from SPARC social enterprise and Lucie Vickers from StreetGames chose to think beyond sport for their pilot and created a sustainable initiative that will continue to grow after the project wraps up in December. As the Activities and Wellbeing Coordinator at Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS), it is part of Suvi Rehell’s daily work to find activity providers and coordinate the participation of about 350 service users (asylum seekers) in Plymouth. Suvi joined forces with SPARC social enterprise in South-West England last year to work on ISCA’s MOVE Beyond project and saw the opportunity to meet a pressing need for the asylum seekers she works with. While SPARC and StreetGames had originally planned to use the project’s pilot activity as a bridge to connect asylum seekers with local sports clubs, Suvi noted that overcoming basic barriers to getting to the clubs – such as transport – was the first priority, and that active transport could be the answer. “Often in situations when you’re asking people ‘What would you like to do?’, even if the question is related to sport, what comes up are the really practical problems of ‘Well, I can’t get there’ or ‘I need support with everyday struggles such as transportation’,” she says in the podcast. These concerns also came out in the focus groups they conducted together with the refugees before starting the pilot, which helped tailor the activities to their needs. Jamie Tresidder says that making active travel more of a possibility and reducing isolation also complemented his social organisation’s ambitions perfectly. “The main focus of SPARC is to remove barriers such as cost, travel, stigmatism, previous negative experiences, lack of facilities – all of these physical barriers that can prevent people from accessing the power and positivity of sport and physical activity,” he says. “With the activities that we’ve chosen to deliver [in the MOVE Beyond project], they’re all a lot more sustainable than your traditional team sports. We’ve set up walking groups, cycling and swimming, [which] was the next on the agenda [and was stopped by the lockdown]. So they’re all things that people can carry on doing in their own time beyond the funding period of the project.”

You will like working with us!

Read more »
 

The best way to look back at the grassroots sport sector

Read more »
 
 

New ISCA website coming soon! Our mascot is working very hard on a brand new ISCA website and we look forward to revealing it to you in 2020. Meanwhile, we will still keep you updated here with the latest news from ISCA and our partners.

Read more »

MOVE WEEK

The MOVE Week Gym is a new addition to the MOVE Week programme. From 25-31 May we will stream live workout videos presented by our members, MOVE Agents and partners.

Read more »