However, the contributors to this book argue that the heavily commodified, PR-driven and cartelised British football world, with which so many contemporary politicians and other public figures rush to identify themselves, has either created, exacerbated or continued to ignore serious problems of social exclusion problems of class and community, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality and age.
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Phyiscal education and sport make up an essential part of education and culture, enriching social relations and developing fair-play, according to the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport Nevertheless, sport can offer its best when it comes to international meetings and games: a universal language, shared by all the people around the world.
It may bring individuals and cultures together in peace. This popularity and global attraction to sport enables people to transcend national, cultural, socio-economic and political boudaries Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group With regard to the unifying force of sport, the European Sports Charter ESC , enacted in , insists on the fact that it can largely contribute to the aim of the Council of Europe, which is to achieve a greater unity between its members.
If cultural diplomacy concentrates on cultural exchanges and mutual understanding, sport is definitely part of it. As stated above, the common language provided by physical education and sport facilitates the dialogue between individuals and nations, sometimes even transcending the cultural and traditional differences.
This is a great achievement, considering the highly competitive environment which has always prevailed in the field of sport. What is more, in the last decade, most of the Football European Championships have been co-hosted by two neighbouring countries; Belgium and the Netherlands in , Switzerland and Austria in Next year, this competititon will be organised jointly by Ukraine and Poland.
The fact that two countries merge together in the preparation of such a big event set up an additional arena for bilateral dialogue. Sport as a tool for cultural diplomacy has already recorded many successes, both at the regional and international level. Actually, the link between sport and peace may be traced back to the Ancient Olympic Games, when the latter were used to establish a temporary peace between belligerent states. More examples will be provided later. Nevertheless, one must notice that the promotion of sport as a means to promote peace worldwide is a quite recent development, and is considered as an emerging field.
They founded the Olympic competition originally to honour the greatest of the Greek gods, Zeus. The Games were held every four years lasting up to 3 months. Starting from the ninth century, they called an Olympic Truce for this period of time, a military cease-fire among all the spectators and athletes, during these weeks even death penalties were forbidden. The competition was also an opportunity to deal with inter-city hostilities in a peaceful way.
These months were also a time for political congress or even forming alliances. The athletes were able to gain honour, political power and social status through their outstanding performance. Following the establishment of the International Olympic Committee IOC and the organisation of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens , other autonomous international associations were set up, such as the international football federation FIFA. Prestige, through the wins conquered during sporting contests, was not really seeked for itself.
But the real significant change happened with the new approach of the USSR, pursuing prestige in competitions at any cost. Sport then turned to be another arena of confrontation in the Cold War. Nevertheless, there was already some space for cultural diplomacy, sport being a useful and powerful tool to reach more peaceful relations and foster mutual understanding between East and West. At that time, U. Its aim is to promote sport to achieve development and peace and to contribute to reach the Millenium Development Goals MDGs.
At a national scale, countries still pursue the same goals, already rooted in the Cold War context. They basically try to fulfill two main objectives: they use sport to enhance their image, and sometimes to punish international behaviour of which they disapprove.
British football and social exclusion by Wagg, Stephen
Moreover, some states have tried to use sport as a way to get acceptance within the international community. In , South Sudan marked statehood with a football match, expressing pride and organising celebrations despite the defeat against a Kenyan club Rice However, no evidence of its effectiveness has been revealed yet Henry This report was put together in order to illustrate that sport can be and is already used in many ways as a tool for cultural diplomacy. Two stages of information gathering were employed in this research.
Firstly, essential books and articles in the field, both academic and press material, were analyzed, in order to establish a general understanding of the topic. Based on their respective findings, we were able to identify four main dimensions with regard to sports as cultural diplomacy, which will be discussed in detail later on. These four core elements are the following ones: 1. Sport as a tool for development; 2. Sport as a tool for soft power; 3. Sport as an instrument to promote closer dialogue and integration in multicultural societies; 4.
Sport as a tool to promote peaceful relations at the international level. The second stage involved visiting the official websites of relevant programs and initiatives, with the purpose of undertaking a more detailed analysis of particular projects. To make our selection relevant, those projects had to meet the following criteria: First of all, Sport activities must be an essential part of the project, and if possible the latter should be centered on physical activity.
Secondly, the issue of intercultural dialogue needs to be raised. Thirdly, the project must take place in conflicting, remote or disadvantaged areas. Indeed, sport can contribute to the achievement of UN Millenium Development Goals, by providing the opportunity for socially excluded groups, including refugees, orphans and street children, to get enrolled in school and to facilitate their social reintegration.
For instance, the Colombia-based NGO Colombianitos carries out several projects, whose objectives are to alleviate the consequences of terrorism and violence on the lives of Colombian young people see www.
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For instance, through the Olympics held in Beijing, China could get an international recognition of its great civilization and rapidly developing society Xu Sport is also big business, and hosting the football World Cup, Olympic Games, or even lower-profile tournaments, is greatly beneficial for countries. Countries used to boycott the Olympics for political reasons, like the US in the Games in Moscow, in order to show their opposition of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Sport also proved to be an effective oppositional tool against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Indeed, the latter was banned from international football until Ndlovu In addition, more than 20 African nations boycotted the Games because New Zealand was participating and had allowed its rugby team some months earlier to play against a racially selected South African squad Park Moreover, successes of national teams or athletes are usually interpreted as the achievements of their country of origin.
Finally, there is a more recent phenomenon linked to the use of soft power through sport. Indeed, some countries send their best athletes — most of them being superstars idolized worldwide — to ensure their presence and a good image abroad. The United States have been very active in this field, the Department of State having established Sports Envoys programs.
Secretary Clinton considers sport as an efficient diplomatic tool, and this project belongs to Mrs. Bourdieu Spaaij, p. While participating in sport activities people can build up interethnic experiences, develop trust in others. People tend to trust others more after some kind of successful contact. It can be an assist perfectly delivered, or a match, competition fully entertaining.
If you are open and show respect to others participating in the same sport activity, they tend to accept you without even thinking about your skin colour, race, religion, or any other different characteristics you might have. Even if they have prejudices in the beginning, studies show that the image change while confronting or cooperating athletes with different ethnic background is mostly positive.
The place where this power is needed the most is a multicultural society. Fortunately there are several examples from all over the world. For instance the integration of second generation migrant athletes in team sports is proven to be an effective method.
Even the most easily agitated fans accept the athlete who leads their team to glory. The recent successes of the German national football team is mostly thank to the outstanding performance of players originally from Poland, Turkey, etc. These athletes can be the perfect idol for young immigrants. Besides the opportunity that remarkable individuals are able to influence masses, there are certain civil society initiatives that are capable of changing unwanted situations.
For instance voluntary sport organisations e. Without a doubt, the positive effects of sport are difficult to prove. Sport can be also seen as a double-edged sword.
If the division between ethnicities or different cultures is situated on the front lines between two teams, individual players , the competitive pressure can create an undesired atmosphere of visualising the divisions, which only results in rejection. Hence the idea of making more and more people participating in intercultural sport events to show them that sport is open to everyone, and is not a battlefield of races, cultures but a competition ground for teams or individuals.
The relation between sport and international relations, both as a political practice and a field of research, has already been extensively discussed. First of all, the question whether sport and diplomacy should mix or not will not be debated in this paper. However, some examples will be provided to help bringing out a better picture of the situation.
Secondly, it will be shown that sport can be used as an efficient tool for cultural diplomacy, as it is the purpose of this research. Indeed, it seems hard to affirm that it naturally leads to high-level meetings between political leaders, and that it is not those leaders who take advantage from regional or worldwide events, in order to advance their own interests.
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Sport and politics are (slowly) parting ways in Northern Ireland
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