Sport is health, employment, international projection, territory, education, social cohesion, integration and equality
A phrase I am most sorry to have to use these days is that every change always brings an opportunity. Well, the world of sport has already begun on the path of opportunity. We were the first to react by cancelling sports competitions, closing facilities, and staying at home and digitising our activity with e-games or telematic meetings among governing bodies.
At UFEC, we launched a website in record time - www.uesports.cat - providing a place where the public can get online classes with our professionals, health tips, and many activities for the whole family, also via Instagram. We are working to keep everyone active while quarantined at home. A society that does sport will be both physically and mentally healthy. With the psychological pressure of staying indoors, this makes more sense than ever.
We have made our facilities available to local authorities in case they need somewhere to set up field hospitals for health or social emergencies. Barcelona will use our Estació del Nord centre to offer a shower and food services to homeless or vulnerable people.
We have also made all our services available to sports organisations, federations and clubs. We have hundreds of enquiries and are helping them in financial, legal, and fiscal areas. And in terms of health, thanks to the agreement of Unifedesport and Mutuacat, we have made an app with 24-hour medical chat for all kinds of medical consultation freely available to all members, more than 700,000 people.
No one can be sure what structural damage will be done to the economy, but we can learn from experience: the financial collapse of 2008 mortally wounded the system. We cannot see the coronavirus pandemic as a health crisis alone. Expert forecasts agree that the global economic impact will be greater than we can imagine: nothing will be the same.
Faced with this frightening scenario, together with the consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, we are preparing a report on the situation in the sector before and after coronavirus. This will give us an x-ray that will allow us to find the most appropriate measures to prepare for the new world.
The sports sector represents 2.1% of Catalan GDP. Sport is health, employment, international projection, territory, education, social cohesion, integration and equality. That is why we are developing the “Marshall Plan for Sport”, a global recovery plan that will help organisations, practitioners and professionals to transform and survive in a new society. We will present measures based on four structural areas of action: digitalisation, taxation, employment and financing. It will be a document addressed to all administrations to help make our entities viable in the future.
For this to take effect, more than ever we need the sector to work together, as well as firm and determined action from all administrations. We trust that everyone will be up to the task when the time comes.