Social transformation through football? Sporting mega events now on agenda of Brazilian social investors

Andrés Thompson

For the first time in its history, GIFE (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Corporations) included two sessions on sports in the programme of its 2012 Congress – Brazil’s largest conference of grantmakers and social investors – held 26-30 March in São Paulo. The relevance of sports for development and the challenges of building a positive social legacy of the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 attracted the attention of an important share of the audience.

One session at the Congress was co-organized between GIFE and REMS (Sports Network for Social Change). The four panellists showed, through various arguments, the relevance of including sports in the social development agenda. Although there have been important positive developments in this field, like the Law of Incentive to Sports, the large majority of the projects supported through it have been for high-performance, professional sports. Participatory and educational sports still need to advance their agendas into the mainstream of public policies. While organizing networks such as REMS is a key element for that, there is still a long way to go.

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