Media Release | 2 March 2022
As athletes and sporting bodies around the world react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, former Socceroo, human rights activist and Adjunct Professor at Torrens University Craig Foster said it was crucial for the global sporting community to take a stand and be a force for good on issues like human rights.
Foster said athletes and sporting bodies could use the power of sport to take a stand on the big issues facing our society.
“Since Russia invaded Ukraine, sports institutions and athletes across the globe – from football federations, to the International Judo Organisation, to Russian tennis players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev and F1 driver Sebastian Vettel – have acted to make it clear that Russia’s actions do not have their support,” said Foster.
“But sport is a powerful platform and the global sporting community, especially the big organisations like FIFA, UEFA and the International Olympic Committee, can do more to take a firm and clear stance on issues like climate, racism and human rights.”
Foster has collaborated with Torrens University Australia to create a series of free courses aimed at giving people in the sports industry the skills and knowledge they need to understand how sport can be used to make the world a better place, exploring the actions of athletes like Naomi Osaka, Lewis Hamilton, and LeBron James.
The courses feature legendary current and former athletes like rugby league and union star Sonny Bill Williams, former Matilda’s Captain and Co-Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association Kathryn Gill, and former Wallabies captain turned political candidate David Pocock, who share their inspirational stories and discuss how they are using their voices to drive change for the global good.
“While the notion of ‘athlete activism’ is not new, we have seen a groundswell in recent years. We have seen athletes like Naomi Osaka use her appearances at the US Open in 2020 to draw attention to racial injustice, and people like 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott advocate for people living with a disability,” said Jerome Casteigt, Chief Commercial Officer at Torrens University Australia.
“The reaction of the sporting world to Russia's actions is another example of how athletes and sportspeople can harness their profile and platform to drive courageous conversations and actions.”
Find out more about Torrens University Australia’s Sport for Good short courses here.