On January 15-16, 2021, the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (ETSGA/AEJeST/AEJDT) organized an important event – the 1st European Forum of Traditional Games and Sports. 150 people from all over the world took part in it.
I had the opportunity to participate, together with Kazimierz Waluch, PhD – the President of the Institute for the Development of Sport and Education (IRSIE). Our organization is a member of the ETSGA.
The first part of this meeting consisted of very important speeches by people, occupying high positions in European and world structures:
- Pere Lavega – Professor of the National Institute of Physical Education and Sport of Catalonia (INEFC)
- Eduard Ingles – Director General of INEFC
- Angela Melo – Director of Policies and Programmes of Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO
- Yves Le Lostecque – Head of Sport Unit of the European Commission
Ives Le Lostecque: traditional sports are increasingly important to the European Commission
In his speech, Ives Le Lostecque said, among others, that since 2013, traditional sports and games (TSG) have been more and more appreciated by the European Commission, which includes them in its programmes, such as the Erasmus + Sport.
During the first years of this Programme, the European Commission supported 27 projects, devoted to traditional sports, for a total amount of over 2 million Euros.
Traditional sports were also part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (2018).
The European Commission is planning further meetings and consultations to find the ways to use EU programmes, especially Erasmus + Sport, for the further development of traditional sports.
As Ives Le Lostecque emphasized: we value traditional sports and games. They are very important parts of cultural heritage of humankind. These are not only words, but specific actions, such as the New Erasmus + Programme, thanks to which we will continue our activities. We have even a bigger budget and more possibilities to do it.
Ives Le Lostecque also noted that the European Union has a new Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Mariya Gabriel is also interested in traditional sports.
Angela Melo (UNESCO): We need a special social policy for traditional sports
According to a Director of Policies and Programmes of Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO Angela Melo, traditional sports build and strengthen international relations.
As she emphasized: the world needs knowledge and values. In the case of traditional sports, there is a balance between tangible and intangible values in them.
As a part of the promotion of the so-called Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), UNESCO has already held many consultations, regarding sports as an important field of culture. In Africa, for example, they concerned varieties of local wrestling, and in Asia, martial arts.
As Angela Melo emphasized, UNESCO’s participation in the Forum, as well as in the recent European Commission meeting on traditional sports, means further cooperation.
UNESCO appreciates the social importance of such sports. Angela Melo: We have to create a special social policy for them. They help change reality. I hope this Forum will help us make good use of our efforts to change social reality.
Presentations of organizations, dealing with traditional sports
Later on, 12 traditional sports organizations (institutions, federations, associations, clubs etc.), which are the longest members of the European Traditional Sports and Games Association, were briefly presenting their activities.
For more information, click on the names or abbreviations of these organizations.
Founded in 1930, the FALSAB Confederation aims to promote traditional sports and games in Brittany (France).
Brittany is a region, rich in interesting and socially very useful, traditional sports and games.
It is an Italian federation, promoting local traditional sports, such as Fiolet, Moura, Palet, Rebatta and Tsan.
This institution promotes the ludic (playful) heritage in Galicia, Spain.
It is a cultural association from Spain, aimed at recreating the intangible heritage, especially in the field of traditional games and sports.
A very interesting educational project – traditional games classes (theory and practice) for children and teenagers. So far, over 100,000 people have participated in them!
An institution, promoting national Breton wrestling – Gouren. It started from scratch in the 1970s, having very little resources, but today it promotes this interesting and valuable traditional sport on an increasing scale.
A great expert on TSG, Guy Jaouen, the President of the International Traditional Sports and Games Association (ITSGA), is an extremely important person here, as well as for the entire global movement of traditional sports.
The Cantabrian Skittle Federation (Spain). Countless modalities of skittles and bowling are one of the most popular, traditional games in the world.
The International Federation of Celtic Wrestling. It promotes very interesting varieties of traditional wrestling, such as:
- Scottish Backhold,
- Breton Gouren,
- Hungarian Baranta,
- Icelandic Glima,
- English Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling etc.
The National Institute of Physical Education and Sport of Catalonia.
An extremely active institution with two campuses – in Barcelona and Lleida. It carries out a vast number of scientific research and practical initiatives, related to traditional sports and games, under the leadership of a distinguished expert – Prof. Pere Lavega.
Catalonia is a region with numerous, still popular and appreciated, traditional games.
The Flanders Traditional Sports Association. Flanders is one of the regions of Europe that is the most dynamically developing traditional games and sports.
The Association of Italian Traditional Games and Sports. A large organization, popularizing Italian traditional sports as essential elements of culture, heritage, social life and health.
It will host the 2nd European Sport for All Games next year.
The cultural association in Catalonia. It has a traditional games and sports section, well run by Biel Pubill Soler.
To be continued
In the upcoming months, the next editions of the ETSGA Traditional Sports Forum are planned, during which the subsequent institutions will have the opportunity to present their activities in the field of protection, promotion and practical use of traditional games and sports.
This is a very important initiative for the integration of our worldwide environment. As you can see, my previously described hope for a good future of traditional sports is not only words, but more and more ACTIONS.