Rules in Sport for All (fair play, respect, etc.)

Why is it so important

  • Sport brings not only physical benefits. The impact on other spheres, such as social interaction and life skills acquisition should be a determinant goal through the application and adaptation of rules
  • Rules in Sport for All should be seen under two perspectives:
    • In the pitch: The decision on “how” a game should be played could have effects on the increase or decrease of participation
    • Off the pitch: As a form of policies that should encourage participants to increase their awareness of certain causes and facilitate harmonious relationship with other groups

What you will find here

A summary of rules that promotes Sport participation with particular focus on minority groups.

Who can apply this

  • Event organisers
  • Clubs
  • Coaches


Inclusive approach

  • Inclusion of different target groups is one of the central goals of S4A. Adopted rules should have an essential goal to put different groups together, peacefully and promoting cooperation
  • There is an increased interest in promoting female participation and gender equity in Sport. Empowerment and leadership are crucial aspects of Sport for All programmes

Values and life skills framework

Several frameworks can be stressed in different Sport manifestations and with specific aims and targeting coaches and participants We briefly describe a few.

Ruling in the pitch

A key challenge is to integrate these sets of values into specific rules and variants on and off the pitch. In these examples, we provide a few ideas of how to mix values with Sport

  • Gender equity through mixed-gender sessions: boys, girls and non-binary  can compete against each other. Boys have to understand it does not matter if they lose against a boy or girl
  • Resilience, emergency areas, etc./refugees: Strength community and family cohesion through rules that enable the participation of family and friends, e.g.,
  • Reintegration and peace goals: The application of cooperative games is important to teach groups in conflict the importance of working together
  • Adapted rules  for people with disabilities: We recommend you these adaptations:

Ruling off the pitch

  • ISO should address inclusion and its associated values in and off the pitch, which means the adoption of policies that contribute on a broader level to the massification of the right a person has to be involved in Sport
  • Advocacy is also important
  • A few cases of promotion of Sport access at an institutional level are described briefly:
    • Respond to harassment and abuse, e.g., gender inclusion policy
    • Discriminatory zero-tolerance policies
    • IOC recently ruled that transgender athletes can take part in Olympics without surgery as they can ensure that their hormonal levels do not represent a significant advantage to the other opponents Click here

Rules that encourage and praise effort rather than winning

  • The focus of rules in Sport for All is to maximize the involvement of participants in the long term. An adequate approach in how competitive a Sport turns out to be is essential to achieving this
  • Please check also Additional Guideline “Skill award schemes” 

Social distancing adapted rules (Alternatives for COVID19)

Despite the quick advance of vaccination programmes all over the world, the overcoming of COVID19 is still far from being reached. But new outbreaks can likely occur, or in the following years, a new form of the global disease could happen. There are vast resources available that present indications and protocols for the safe practice of Sport and physical activities.

  • Gov NL: Rules for gyms, Sport and fitness centres. Click here
  • Gov UK: Advice for specific Sport and events. Click here
  • Sport England: Lessons Learnt from Netball. Click here

Adaptations of rules due to the available equipment and materials

Optimizing equipment availability in club facilities

To increase access to Sport, facility owners (See Module 3) should develop strategies that allow more people to use the same facility and thus maximize the use of installed capacities. In addition, this reinforces participants ‘cohesion and friendship.

  • When possible, use adapted formats
    • Example 1: Basketball 4 vs 4 games using just one half of the field and 1 basket
    • Example 2: Switching several teams or participants on the same pitch at the same time applying “fast” matches or a “Who scores first stays “playing format
  • Organize schedules according to competitive levels and participants’ availability, considering times for workers

“Economic” adaptations of certain Sport

  • Develop  rules that permit simplified versions of certain Sport
    • Example 1: Table tennis with just wooden rackets
    • Example 2: Grass hockey using brooms and simple tennis balls
  • Fun adaptation using affordable and accessible resources: Frisbees, racquets, balloons, cans, recycled balls (inexpensive resources (Less than EUR 2). among others would be ideal for creating variants of  certain types of Sport

Another cross-sectional model that brings Sport for All Activities closer to Everyone

TREE model (for Teaching Styles, Rules, Environment, Equipment), showcases how an activity can be modified to answer different needs?

Click here to learn more

Tip: We advise you to consult the section “Success factors” and “Recommendations” in individual Activity Boxes Module 1 and Module 2 to get additional variants when working with other minority/vulnerable groups: