Beatrice Clarke, Head of Sustainability at Swedish Professional Football Leagues, participated in a panel discussion on the theme “Youth, Gangs, and Sports” during the ongoing Järvaveckan in Stockholm.
“Swedish Professional Football Leagues and the clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan actively work on social sustainability beyond football. We use football as a tool to reach young people. Young people who don’t believe in themselves or whom others don’t believe in. In this, we have a very strong brand,” says Beatrice Clarke.

Järvaveckan is one of Sweden’s most important meeting places for socially engaged companies, associations, authorities, politicians, and citizens. Järvaveckan aims to bridge the gap between elected politicians and citizens. In the panel discussion organized by the Salvation Army, participants included Maria Olausson, Salvation Army Officer, Tobias Baudin, Party Secretary of the Social Democrats, Jakob Olofsgård, Party Secretary of the Liberals, Carin Götblad, Police Chief of the Police Authority, Jonas Hägerhäll, Association Manager at AIK, and Salvation Army Youth Consultant Gabriel Tshidimu and Operations Manager Julia Adolfsson.

“Sports play a significant role for many, and football has a central role in society. The football field in the village center is a key part of the social movement that has helped build this Sweden. Today’s children lack positive role models and attractive meeting places. It’s logical. Swedish Professional Football Leagues has many activities outside the football field, and we enable many young people who can’t afford to play football. But politicians must take their responsibility to do their part to improve society, and I feel they are lacking in this regard today,” says Beatrice Clarke.

One topic discussed in the panel was social exclusion, its consequences, and how to prevent it.

“Words have power; does it mean one is included just because they are integrated? To me, it’s not the same thing. What is it like for children growing up in a particularly vulnerable area to always hear that they are vulnerable? Through our clubs, we work a lot in these areas, for example, with single mothers without jobs who cannot enter the labor market. We work on reading comprehension among young boys as it has declined. We work with human rights, and so on. I could stand here all day listing examples. The success recipe is that we work very closely with the public sector and the business community. That is the golden triangle. We build society together. We have an attraction with our brands in Allsvenskan and Superettan. We are a complement to the public sector’s mission,” says Beatrice Clarke.

“At the core of the problem is the target group, and we must involve the target group we are talking about in this. We must continue what we are doing to make it even better and press decision-makers to get more resources for this. The social movement 2.0,” concludes Beatrice Clarke.

Read more about the sustainability work of Swedish Professional Football Leagues here.