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Academics and Leicester sports coaches team up in ERASMUS research project on ethics code for grassroots sport across Europe

Leicester City Football Club led the way in professional football excellence in England in 2016, but now the public focus has shifted once more to football's problems – the depressing hooliganism stories from Euro 2016.

So we need to shift attention again to the positive sides of the game, as local academics and football coaches from Leicestershire work together with colleagues in Europe to improve fairness in grassroots sport.

Football expert John Williams from the DICE unit and the Department of Sociology, along with two local grassroots sports volunteers from AFC Barwell, Director of Football Darren Finney, and club Chairman Michael Sumner, recently returned from a meeting in Modena, Italy of the ERASMUS-funded E4S (Ethics for Sports) project.

The E4S project involves five European countries and is aimed at developing an ethics app for grassroots sports clubs and a code of sporting ethics that is simple and easily transferrable across sports and across EU countries. Finally, it will produce an electronic handbook of good practice drawn from each of the five countries involved.

The E4S group have already come up with the basis for a framework for a simple code of ethics the group hopes to develop and spread around grassroots sport in Europe. The group has provisionally called this framework ‘The Big Six.’

These are values and approaches to sport the E4S group hope will underpin how grassroots sport is coached and played across Europe in future.

THE E4S ‘BIG SIX’

1.   Help team-mates, respect opponents

2.   Follow the rules/laws

3.   Play fair, don’t cheat

4.   Only hear the coach

5.   No referee, no game

6.   Have fun – and try to win!

John Williams from DICE said: “The beauty of developing a code like this one is that it is simple and everyone can understand it. It can be promoted on social media but also on club websites, posters in changing rooms, and via t-shirts and merchandise. We hope to get sporting bodies in Europe interested in supporting the message. Maybe Leicester will become globally known not only for its sporting excellence, but also for its positive promotion of fairness and inclusion in sport.”

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