I AM a great advocate of the power of sport to change people lives. Chairing Scottish Sports Futures, one of Scotland top “sport for change” organisations, I am more than aware of how the “hook” of sport can help people through difficult times and set them on a stronger and healthier path for the future.

With recent events in Europe that have focussed everyone’s attention, there is a different meaning to the power of sport, as collectively we have seen major players in the sporting arena take positive action, lifting their heads high and making decisions that clearly position them as supporters of democracy.

This for me is such a relief, and their swift action in making these choices has to be commended.

Globally, sport is working collectively for the good of all – even though there is no doubt that some of these decisions will have far-flung ramifications in how they continue to operate. But at times like these, that is the least of our worries and it is most definitely the right thing to do.

The National:

Maureen McGonigle

I have had the privilege of visiting both Russia and Ukraine with the Scottish FA women’s national team, and the beauty in both countries is surprising. Wonderfully colourful and peppered with regal building, large open spaces and amazing parks. Not really what I expected to see – and as always, the people themselves, just the same as you and me, trying to get on with their daily lives.

Changing lives has also been on the agenda of Megan Rapinoe, probably the best known face of the US women’s national football team. The team has been fighting for years to receive equal pay, and took their complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where I believe it was dismissed in 2020.

However, after an appeal, a settlement has been agreed whereby US Soccer pledged equal pay for both the men’s and women’s teams across all international competitions.

This is a team who have won the World Cup on four occasions and are five times Olympic gold champions, but were deemed for many years to be inferior to the men’s team, whose record of success is nothing to write home about.

These two stories show the power of sport to change people’s lives – not just for those who participate in sport, but for the wider population who benefit from the stand that our athletes and organisations have taken.