Sport brings people together
In new environments, new arrivals may not have established a safe space to interact, such as a club facility, cafe, markets or even an extended family, as they may have had back home. Sport draws people together and offers a common activity – watching and/or playing – and is centred on an activity that is easily set-up and set-down and needs little personal investment to be involved.
Also, sport provides a means for new, disadvantaged or marginalised communities to reach outside of their own confines and establish links to other communities. In cases of refugees new to a host country or in situations of conflict (pre-, existing and post-) sport therefore has within it the means – we might say a reason or an excuse – to get together despite existing barriers and to share something that is both fun and socially engaging.
In conflict scenarios, sport offers a common ground which while competitive, is shared and agreed upon. Sporting activity between rival groups can, when well-structured and intentional, provide a kind of middle ground where differences can be overcome, tensions dissipated and disputes - hopefully - curtailed.