“Sport has the capacity to transform the lives of individuals. It bolsters physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being and development. At the same time sport plays a significant role in cultures and communities around the world. These factors alone justify investment in sports programming. But there is also a growing understanding that sports programs merit support because they are powerful vehicles for achieving broader goals, particularly in advancing development and peace agendas. The development community has typically marginalized sport, viewing it as a relatively low priority among a host of needs and goals. Recently, though, an international movement has taken root that recognizes that sport does not have to compete with other development priorities but can instead be a powerful means for addressing them.”
From a USAID report entitled, The Role of Sports as a Development Tool. Check out the full report for interesting research on the power of sport in furthering development.