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After Lioness, it's time to be bold and make real cultural change | Sports

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debtThere are many sporting opportunities that inspire us more than the historic victory of the Lionesses of England at the European Championships. There are again inspiring stories about heritage, cultural change, and the positive social changes that are yet to come. I have to. Super Saturday 2012 in London comes to mind.

Even then, there was lofty talk of inspiring heritage and country. But as a recent review of London 2012 shows, from Tony Blair to British sport his performance his architect Peter Keene to the National Audit Office, we have failed to produce the lasting legacy promised. I did. It takes more than joy, elite success and trophies to create a vibrant nation, but even after the memories of Wembley fade, this is the larger goal we must keep in mind.

An ambitious story of national transformation and world-leading performance takes shape. We have successfully delivered the latter, but not yet the former. In his recent review ten years later in London 2012, he recalled making promises but not keeping them.

Highlights of the review are lax planning at the government level on promoting participation, a lack of understanding of what is needed on the ground that is very different from what is needed to succeed at the elite level, and an attempt to focus on grassroots building. Political and social commitment. Not fashionable or the latest headlines.

Masterminding a tournament victory may seem nearly impossible, but after all, it’s taken England since 1966 to achieve it in football. The real challenge isn’t just identifying the next generation of lionesses. It’s about how we can make sure we reach out to the millions of girls and women who didn’t tune in on Sunday night but who deserve the benefits of a healthy, active life.

In my lifetime, no government has recognized the potential of sport to improve the health and education of our nation. Reflecting on the legacy of London 2012, Blair, despite his commitment and that of his inspirational colleague, Dame Tessa Jowell, is a complete failure to properly serve the interests of the nation. Since then, no government has been able to do this.

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Government and non-governmental organizations are good at siloing – sport in education is part of the education sector’s mandate, sport’s health benefits are covered by the health sector, and sport is part of increasing life opportunities. It can be a department and social mobility is in it. Level up division and the sport itself sits in a strange mix of culture, media and sports divisions.

Sport itself does not have cabinet status, with the governments of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and UK Sport playing key roles. For the sport to thrive, it will require an unprecedented level of inter-governmental cooperation and cooperation, breaking down the traditional rigid Whitehall silos.

There is no doubt football is in a better place this time around, with experienced and seasoned sports leaders at the helm armed with wisdom from past mistakes and beginning to plan for grassroots participation. Sue Campbell is the mastermind behind the Football Association’s women’s soccer, and it takes all her incredible strength, wit and conviction to create a vision and get others to champion it. It was said.

Campbell’s successor, Ari Oliver, chief executive of the Youth Sports Trust (Campbell was both chief executive and chairman), will work to ensure that women’s football becomes part of the school curriculum. is part of the long-term plan of Tim Hollingsworth, who Campbell worked with when he was transforming Olympic and Paralympic sport at UK Sport, is also CEO of Sport England. Sport England has perhaps the most important responsibility in sport to raise activity levels across the country and develop sustainable community sport.

But even with these talented leaders, there are many others in the ecosystem that are needed to fill their roles and create significant change. At the grassroots level, local clubs, regional sports organizations and schools where football has traditionally been run by men need to do more than simply offer women’s sections. Make sure girls feel welcome, have spaces for everyone regardless of background to participate, play games and have fun, and empower women coaches, volunteers and committee members You must ensure that you are

These are things to track, measure and care about, rather than safely throwing our eyes back on looking at the latest Premier League transfers or national team world rankings.

Don’t think there is pure gender inequality to deal with. Access and opportunity for sport is a problem across multiple disadvantaged communities in the UK. This is not just football, before we get into the beautiful game. Girls and women across the country deserve the opportunity to play rugby, participate in a triathlon or play golf.

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In my own rowing sport, with Love Rowing, a recently established national foundation, and brilliant regional initiatives from Youth Rowing in London to Warrington Youth Rowing, we are opening the door to a great sport even further. There are still many. Participation rates for people with disabilities remain unacceptably low, inflicting enormous mental and physical toll on important but marginalized segments of society.

By all means, let’s encourage ourselves to win on Sunday night. Let us work on our ambition beyond what we have achieved so far because we know the impossible has become possible. Start tracking what your legacy really looks like week by week as closely as you track the latest league results and world rankings. The cultural shift and commitment is huge, but the prize for a country is bigger than ever before with trophies and scorelines.

Cass Bishop is an Olympic medal-winning rower, author of The Long Win, Advisor to The True Athlete Project and Chairman of British Rowing’s charity, Love Rowing.