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The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

Everyone should have the opportunity to be actively involved in every sport they choose. Each sporting organization should be committed to being inclusive and open to all members of the community regardless of age, gender, disability, cultural or religious background or sexual orientation, or other attributes that may lead to any person feeling excluded or isolated.

More importantly, people who want to play sport feel, for a variety of reasons and barriers, excluded and don’t become involved.

Some of the following barriers that exist:

Culturally and linguistically diverse populations
A love of sport can be found in people of different races, backgrounds and cultures. Yet this shared interest can raise a number of complex issues that involve balancing a person’s cultural traditions with their compliance with social norms and club rules and procedures.

Gender inclusion
Although people like to think of sport as being fair and open to all, sometimes individuals or groups are excluded or prevented from participating equally. If the unfair treatment is based on gender, then it could be sex discrimination.

Homophobia and sexuality
Unfair treatment based on someone’s sexuality – or assumptions about their sexuality – is unfair discrimination and has no place in any sport and recreation environment. The good news is there are plenty of actions you can take to ensure that homophobia and sexuality discrimination does not exist at your club or association.

People with disability
Participation rates for people with disability are significantly lower than the general population. While attitudes and practices are changing there is still work to do. There are many practical ideas, tools and strategies you can use to ensure people with disability have every opportunity to participate in activities of their choice.

Race based inclusion

Racism can have a profound impact on people’s involvement in sport. It can affect motivation, enjoyment and levels of participation and, if unchecked, may result in inappropriate, potentially dangerous and violent behaviour.


“ Sport has the power to unit people in a way that little else does.

Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.

Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand.”

                                                                                                    Nelson Mandela