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FC Barcelona Hero: "Don't imitate us, enjoy the game!"

Motivating children to be physically active is not about inspiring them to imitate their heroes, it’s about letting them find the sport and physical activity offers that they want to participate in. This was the motto former FC Barcelona football star Victor Muñoz emphasised in the MOVE Congress talk show on the opening night of the event.


The talk show featured a cross-sector holy trinity of government, sporting federation and professional athlete representatives on one panel. Muñoz, David Moner, President of the Union of Sport Federations of Catalonia, and Rafael Niubò, former Secretary of Sports from the Government of Catalonia, discussed how the grassroots sports, education and government sectors need to consider how people are encouraged to take up sport and physical activity – from school-age to adulthood.


The starting point was not trying to emulate their heroes, Muñoz said, as this creates unrealistic expectations of them and could in fact discourage them from pursuing their sports when they become older.


“Unattainable expectations of children should never be created,” Muñoz said.


“There should be clear expectations and we need to create a lifestyle in which sport is an inherent part of it. Parents can educate them about sport, but the children need to decide for themselves.”


Niubò paid tribute to Muñoz’s efforts to work hard beyond his professional sporting career to encourage people in Catalonia to enjoy sport and physical activity.


“He’s a model for the sportsperson I’d like to have [spread the message] in schools,” Nuibò said.


Earning two university degrees, being involved in social and urban planning, while being the captain of FC Barcelona was all part of Muñoz’s own vision as a sport for all enthusiast.


“This is my real call in life,” he said.


By Rachel Payne, ISCA