SCOUT will work with sport clubs at grassroot level, as well as national level, which concurs with the European dimension sport document that recognises that traditional and grassroots sporting organisations play a key role in strengthening culture, promoting social inclusion and enhancing communities; additionally, it states that sport makes a significant and crucial contribution to positive values such as social inclusion, fair play, and respect.
As declared by the Council , access and participation in sports is crucial for personal development, one’s sense of belonging, empowerment, developing social competences and networks, moreover a perfect way to learn more about local social norms and values. Hence, sports activities provide great opportunities for excluded groups to interact, bond and ultimately integrate with other groups of the society.

The gender gap

The gender gap that permeates all levels of the sporting world, starting from the decision-making levels to participation in organised sports; girls are less active than boys, and the gender gap increases with age. The participation gap is most prevalent in the 15-24-year age group, where 33% of young women state they never exercise or play sports. Possible reasons for these disparities include gender stereotyping, a lack of support systems and programmes that are specifically geared to girls and women, and under representation of girls and women in leadership roles related to sport.

The financial barrier

While sport is often considered as an important instrument for social inclusion, many studies show that children and adolescents who are likely to occupy a more vulnerable position in society, have higher odds to be left out of sport club participation as well. In most of the EU countries, in order to be able to play organised sports, a substantial annual fee has to be paid to the sports clubs, as their income is partially dependent on them. Sport continually gets more expensive for families and the financial barrier can potentially prevent children from engaging in sport, or lead to an increase in player dropout as families simply cannot afford the costs to play. It is then important that governments, governing bodies, federations and sport clubs seek out innovative ways to enable access to sport (and its associated benefits) for everyone.


There are many children who have been raised in an environment where they have not seen the importance of sports and physical activity to improve their quality of life. In other communities, it is argued that participating in sport is seen as not respectable for women. Furthermore, organizational conditions, such as gender-integrated activities with certain rules concerning outfits and conduct, may be seen as an obstacle for some girls. The complex of cultural norms and identity formation together make some girls not want to participate, while other are not allowed to participate. Additionally, many girls with migrant backgrounds who participate in sport do so because they are offered girls-only activities. Notably, it is possible to consider and arrange activities only for girls. If sports activities should be viewed as a means of integration and inclusion, the participation of minority girls is essential.

In general, income poverty, gender, and ethnicity come forward as important determinants for cluborganised sports participation. For many girls, especially from minority groups, exclusion can be seen across more than one domain or dimension of disadvantage, resulting in severe negative consequences for quality of life, well-being and future life chances.