Location and general information

Location Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Croatia
Start date 12/01/2023
End date 11/30/2024
Cost of the project €250,000
Foundation funding €100,000
Project identifier 20230315
Partners Development Center for Youth
Categories Access to Sport - Gender Equality - Healthy lifestyle - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


The commercialisation of sport has diminished its pedagogic role: instead of education, healthy lifestyles, and positive social values, it is mostly about top performance. An increase in negative phenomena such as intolerance, discrimination and hate speech also suggests sport is departing from its role as a corrective force in society.

The Creating Life Champions project honed in on sport’s role in education and the promotion of positive values, empowering coaches to act as educators again. Not all young sportspeople will be top athletes, but all should be top people. Children go to school because they must and play sport because they want to: this is an important indication of the role sport plays in every child’s upbringing.

Including different stakeholders in the coordination and implementation of Creating Life Champions helped us to better understand how to spread the concept and what issues need addressing most urgently. Consequently, Life Champions 2.0 focuses on more actively involving girls and young women in football, i.e. creating female ‘life champions’.

Project goals

Overall objective

To continue revitalising the educational and pedagogic role of football, leveraging football coaches’ influence on children and adolescents, their upbringing, education, and self-development, with an emphasis on gender equality in and through sport

Our intention is to promote the active participation, visibility and acceptance of girls and women in particular, encouraging our participants to adopt positive principles of gender equality in sport and in all other areas of life.

 Specific objectives

  • To add 30 new coaches to the Life Champions network, focusing on gender equality and accessibility for all
  • To work towards better ratio of women to men in sport, with a view to achieving genuine gender equality, starting at grassroots level
  • To involve at least 500 parents and caregivers and thereby create a strong base of support to further spread the Life Champions concept.

Project content

The project will involve various activities:

  • initial training for 30 new Life Champion coaches,
  • an online networking event for new and existing Life Champion coaches,
  • 6 regional information days focused on girls in sport and promoting their involvement in the international camps,
  • 5 international educational sports camps for more than 700 participants,
  • online activities introducing parents to the concept and specific topics of the Life Champions programme,
  • an end-of-year conference to present the results of the other activities organised over the course of 2024 and make plans for 2025.

All materials will be shared with national, regional, and European counterparts.

The activities will all be accompanied by the strong promotional campaign ‘We are all champions’, focusing on girls in football. The campaign is expected to reach around 5 million people thanks to an ongoing partnership with Arena Sport, the main regional TV sports network, and a number of other media agreements reached in 2023.

While growing the network of Life Champions coaches from 30 to 60 people overall, our focus is on the gender ratio within the network and in all our activities. This means at least 15 female coaches, and at least 250 girls (out of 700 participants in total) in our international camps. In addition, we will involve an additional 500-600 people (youngsters, coaches, club managers, parents, local government, and media) in the six regional info days, and 40 selected stakeholders in the conference.

This year’s concept should pave the way to more active involvement of girls and young women in football, showing that football truly is a sport for all. In doing so, it should open the concept to other minority groups whose involvement in sport is often restricted, such as young migrants, Roma children and other children and adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing ‘life champions’ for all.


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