GAISF President Ivo Ferriani said sport can be "a powerful intergenerational activity" ©GAISF

Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) President Ivo Ferriani has insisted on the United Nations International Youth Day that sports bodies must take young people's views into account in shaping the development of sport.

International Youth Day has been celebrated since 2000, and aims to recognise the voices, actions and initiatives of young people, with this year's theme entitled 'intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages' to promote their inclusion in decision making.

Ferriani, who is also President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and an International Olympic Committee Executive Board member, highlighted the importance of sport to a young demographic.

"Sport has a key role to play in the physical, mental and social development of young people, so it is key that the global sports community listens to their voice when guiding sport’s global development," the Italian official said.

"By working collaboratively, we can help draw more young people to sport and increase participation to secure sport’s future.

"As an integral part of society, sport can also be a powerful intergenerational activity.

"At all levels older generations pass on their knowledge to young people, ensuring that younger generations can experience the joy of sport and benefit from an active lifestyle.

"In a time where solidarity and collaboration are more important than ever, it is vital that we harness sport’s role as a vehicle for promoting social cohesion among all ages."

GAISF was founded in 1967, but could be dissolved at an Extraordinary General Assembly in September in a move that would likely further centralise the power of the IOC.

Six young athletes became members of Peace and Sport's Junior Champions for Peace Club on International Youth Day ©Peace and Sport
Six young athletes became members of Peace and Sport's Junior Champions for Peace Club on International Youth Day ©Peace and Sport

Connecting the Olympics to younger fans has been referenced as a key reason behind recent changes to the Olympic programme, including the core inclusion of skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing at Los Angeles 2028.

The IOC launched its Young Leaders Programme in 2016, aiming to empower young people to use sport to make a positive difference in their communities.

Peace and Sport has marked International Youth Day by creating a Junior Champions for Peace Club, with six athletes aged 12 to 18 joining in German-Ukrainian chess player Fiorina Berezovsky, twins Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc from motorsports who support an orphanage in Uganda, French-American skateboarder Julian Agliardi, and Monégasque swimmer Théo Druenne and footballer Mamadou Coulibaly.

Peace and Sport President and founder Joël Bouzou insisted that young athletes can become spokespersons for peace.

"Young generations not only follow the example: they can be an example and a powerful source of inspiration to others," Bouzou said.

"With the creation of the Junior Champions for Peace Club, we wish to provide to the youth a platform of expression and to underline their ability to play a key advocacy role.

"We will offer an integral support to these young people leading the change through specific trainings on peace-through-sport and tailored actions in the field."

Peace and Sport's Champions for Peace Club features more than 110 athletes, and was launched in 2009.