WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH SPORT?

Everything! LOVE of the game is at the heart of all sport. It is the core reason that we play. When kids first participate in sport, it is because they LOVE the game. They LOVE it for the pure JOY that it brings. Later in life, LOVE of sport also encompasses the VALUES that it teaches us for sport and for life.

In honour of February, the month of LOVE, we continue to explore the positive impact that the Six Principles are having around the globe and we shine a light on the Principle of LOVE in the context of Sport.

What is the Relevance of Love in Sport?

LOVE FOR SPORT. LOVE FOR THE GAME. When you see children playing, that’s when you witness LOVE for the game in its purest form. Kids play games and participate in sport simply because it is something they LOVE doing. It makes them feel good, it connects them with their friends and peers, and it is fun!

LOVE FOR THE JOY THAT IT BRINGS. Whether as an active participant or as a spectator witnessing and enjoying the game, sport makes people happy. It provides an escape from the every day and gives them a positive outlet for emotion.

LOVE FOR THE VALUES IT TEACHES. As stated in the SSH Declaration of Principles: “Sport has the power to teach positive values and enrich lives”. Through sport we learn about teamwork, fair play and the importance of being a good sport. Sport also instills in us the importance of fitness for our mind, body and soul, constantly driving us to be the best we can be.

LOVE FOR HUMANITY. Sport is a rallying cry around which we can spread LOVE, inclusion and acceptance. The SSH Declaration of Principles defines the principle of LOVE as: “Sport is for All. Do all you can to help everyone take part in Sport. Do all you can to enable everyone to compete on equal terms.” When we embrace LOVE in sport and in life, the world inherently becomes a better place.

Love as a Brand Ethos

In celebration of the Principle of LOVE, we share with you a sport organization that embraces the SSH Principle of LOVE as their brand ethos:

CONCACAF: “LOVE FOR OUR GAME.”

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations, servicing 41 member nations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in the south.

Concacaf means football first. Our vision “LOVE for our Game” reflects the unity of our member nations to achieve a unique mission, to develop, promote and manage football throughout the region with integrity, transparency and passion in order to inspire participation in the game.

The Confederation brings football closer to people guided by the core pillars of the brand:

UNITY. We are One Concacaf family, 41 countries, one culture united by the LOVE for our game.

FOOTBALL. The game always comes first. Our decisions are always made in service of the sport.

QUALITY. We are here to raise our game at every level, making football better for every team, every time.

ACCESS. In our game, everyone gets to play. And everyone in our family should feel connected and respected, no matter where you come from or where you are going. We will lead on fair play, diversity, respect, and sportsmanship.

Concacaf NextPlay: Impacting Lives, Broadening Horizons

Concacaf also brings to life the Love For Our Game through NextPlay, a comprehensive grassroots development program that promotes access to football within the region, while leveraging the power of the game to drive social change.

“Concacaf NextPlay delivers widely on a core principle of our ONE Concacaf Vision — providing access to play the game, in meaningful and sustainable ways that unite our Confederation through football. We are proud to work with our Member Associations to partner with governments, schools and volunteers across the region to create a grassroots football delivery platform that will serve as an engine for both football growth and positive social impact in their respective markets.”
— VICTOR MONTAGL IANI, Concacaf President and Sport at the Service of Humanity Young Leaders Program Global Mentor

NextPlay is executed in partnership with Concacaf’s Member Associations, as well as local schools and governments. This program is designed to inspire the LOVE for our game in younger generations by engaging them in meaningful and sustainable ways using football as a tool for education.

Promoting Life-Changing Values

“NextPlay is critical because what we are doing is encouraging kids – girls and boys – from an early age to get to LOVE the game. We understand that all of them won’t go on to reach the top levels of the sport, but we can rest assured that NextPlay affords our young players an opportunity to be exposed to the game in a positive way. I have seen what football, over the years in my country and the rest of the Caribbean, has done for many youngsters, who would have otherwise gone astray, so if we can harness the good qualities in children from that kind of age, I can see better societies in all our countries coming from NextPlay.”
— RANDOLPH HARRIS, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) President

Sport as an Educational Tool

“NextPlay is critical because what we are doing is encouraging kids – girls and boys – from an early age to get to LOVE the game. We understand that all of them won’t go on to reach the top levels of the sport, but we can rest assured that NextPlay affords our young players an opportunity to be exposed to the game in a positive way. I have seen what football, over the years in my country and the rest of the Caribbean, has done for many youngsters, who would have otherwise gone astray, so if we can harness the good qualities in children from that kind of age, I can see better societies in all our countries coming from NextPlay.”
— JASON ROBERTS, Concacaf Director of Development

Football as a Pathway for Good Citizenship

“When we play football, we share the ball, we pass to each other so there is a social component that represents teamwork. When a young player leaves the field … there should be a connection to his life about understanding that … I should be a good family member. I should be a good student. I should be a good community person. We want to be able to take from the sessions, those values and begin to educate young minds. And in the event they do not become footballers, we have done our job to make them great citizens. That is our responsibility. That is the future.”
— NELSON HILLOCKS, Director of Sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture

Concacaf is a true representation of an organization that has embraced the SSH Principle of LOVE and in doing so has demonstrated the power that comes from LOVE of sport. By taking the LOVE for our Game brand ethos beyond words and actually living it, Concacaf is creating positive change in the world.

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