On April 14, 2023, a conference and round table on “equal opportunities in sport” in connection with the Billie Jean King Cup took place at the prestigious Praetorian Palace in Koper, Slovenia. The event brought together various stakeholders from the world of sport to discuss strategies, campaigns and commitments for equality in sport.
The conference began with the speech of the Deputy Mayor of the City of Koper Ms. Jasna Softic and the Director of Tennis Slovenia Mr. Gregor Krusic. Then the main presentations were given by the President of the ITF, Mr. David Haggerty and the Treasurer of TAFISA (Association for International Sport for All), Mr. Janez Sodrznik.
During the presentation, Janez shared insights and best practices from TAFISA’s ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and inclusion in sport. He noted the organization’s work to create safe spaces for women and girls to play sports and discussed the challenges that still need to be met.
“Ensuring equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status or religion, is crucial to creating a better world through sport for all.”
After Sodrznik’s speech, a roundtable discussion took place during which several important issues related to equal treatment and ensuring equal conditions in sport were raised. While gender was the main topic, the debate also touched upon the importance of broader equality, including age, race, (dis)ability, culture, sexual orientation, political and religious beliefs, economic and social status, and other characteristics.
The round table gathered many excellent speakers and participants, including:
- Janez Sodrznik, Treasurer of TAFISA
- Fiona Johnson, senior vice president of IDO (International Dance Organization) and board member of TAFISA
- David Haggerty, ITF President
- Tjasa Tibaut, former Slovenian football player
- Aljaz Bedene, former Slovenian professional tennis player
- Maja Matevzic, former Slovenian professional tennis player
- Gregor Krusic, director of the TZS (Slovenian Tennis Association).
The Billie Jean King Cup, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is the most important and largest international women’s team competition in tennis, initiated as the Federation Cup in 1963 and run by the ITF. The cup is closely associated with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 on the basis of equal opportunities, and is one of the world leaders in women’s professional sport.
TAFISA would like to sincerely thank the conference organizers for their exceptional work in preparing such an insightful and engaging event.