Who is on board in Scottish sport?

By Isabelle Boulert, Josh Emerson and Grant Jarvie
University of Edinburgh

Scotland could do more to end all white boards in sport.

Key Facts:

• An audit of Scottish sports boards (N=82) carried out between 2017-2018
• Composition of Scottish sports boards 99.5% white and 0.5% people of colour
• Availability of Board data – 10% no data.
• Chairs of Scottish Sports Boards 100% white and 0% people of colour
• 3 people of colour as board members out of 558 board members

The research findings presented acknowledges that the use of all encompassing terms to explain diversity in Scotland hides the richness of diversity in Scotland today.

That being said the findings from the review of Scottish sports boards evidences for the first time the fact that people of colour are under-represented in the decision making roles in sport in Scotland.

There is not just a social and political imperative for Scottish sports boards to be more representative of Scottish communities but a substantial body of evidence demonstrates that having diverse boards boosts recruitment, retention and productivity while reducing risk.

Nor is the lack of diversity on Scottish sports boards an issue that is unique to Scotland or sport. The 2017 Parker Review of Ethnicity and Diversity on UK Boards reported that only 2 per cent of all FTSE 100 board directors are UK citizens of colour, while the non-white population was 14 per cent and set to rise 20 per cent by 2030.

Only six people of colour held the position of Chair or Chief Executive while 51 of the FTSE 100 companies did not have any non-white people on Board.

Increasing participation and representation from under-represented groups in sport remains an urgent and complex issue that permeates the sports system. While there are many examples of remarkable initiatives enabling equality and diversity in and through sport there remains many areas where progress has to be made and where a co-ordinated and collaborative approach could lead to significant improvements.

Scotland’s diverse and ageing population has much to offer sport. From volunteers and coaches to being Board members, there are people with a wealth of knowledge and experience to be passed on to the next generation and the notion of their not be enough capable and qualified non-white applicants needs to be rejected.

Leadership in Scottish Sport needs to be much more innovative and pro-active to ensure it is representative and reflective of Scottish people and communities.

Leadership positions and boards in Scottish Sport are almost entirely white. The cost of accessing sport and facilities remains a significant barrier with sport being available to those from wealthier backgrounds. Many sports still have a gender imbalance while recognising that much progress has been made. The disability sports voice needs to be represented more.

Successful societies are inclusive societies and sport can act as a way to help bring communities together, if it becomes more inclusive at all levels.

The evidence does not discount the steps that have been accomplished to advance equality and reduce inequality gaps in Scottish sport but it does suggest that when Scottish sport boards tend to recruit to leadership positions this tends to result in, primarily if not exclusively in many cases, all white Scottish sports boards.

eSports Diplomacy: From Threat To Opportunity

By Dr Stuart Murray and Dr James Birt 

Bond University – Australia 

Have you heard about the big sports competition taking place in Melbourne, culminating in the final on Sunday evening? No, we’re not talking about the Australian Open (Mens) Final, but the Fortnite Summer Smash, a competition bringing 500 eSports aces from sports, entertainment and video gaming together to battle it out for AU$500,000 in prize money. Whether or not you know about eSports you’ve probably heard about Fortnite. 

Fortnite is the world’s most profitable game, with a record US$3 billion profit in 2018, an indicative of the mass stampede towards eSports, a form of sports where the primary aspects of the sport are facilitated by electronic systems. The term describes a rapidly evolving area of media, competition and industry disruption formed around video games played competitively for spectators.

Game On – It’s the billion-dollar industry taking over the world – we talk all things eSports with Aussie team the LG @DireWolves, #TheProjectTV

Within the Australian context eSports has seen nearly 50% growth in the past two years specifically amongst males and 18-34 year olds. eSporting tournament viewership has already surpassed that of traditional sports broadcasting. This represents a significant market opportunity for not only broadcast companies but also governments, companies and individuals to engage, inform and create a favourable image among younger demographics connected to eSports.

Not without its controversy, Fortnite is now taking centre court just before the men’s tennis final at the Australian Open, shifting the focus of Australian sporting passion from physical on court to screen based battle royal.

Read more: eSports are shifting the focus of Australia’s sporting passion

Fortnite to land at Australian Open 2019 – Kathleen “Loserfruit” Belsten

Such an event is not unique. Rather the partnership between Epic Games and the Australian Open is symbolic of many other traditional sports teaming up with eSports providers, players, and fans. Including Formula One and the F1 eSports Series, FIFA and the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 and NBA and the NBA2K League.

From a traditional sporting perspective, opening up once hallowed sporting arenas to eSports is about creating new markets, reaching out to the younger demographic, and trying to stay relevant in an era where stadia are emptying, participation in real sports is declining and Australia’s once mighty international sporting footprint is diminishing.  For the eSports crowd, such partnerships generate legitimacy and are aimed at winning over the puritans and their traditional arguments: this isn’t real sport! Surely people should be playing games outside, not inside! What’s wrong with the real world (versus the virtual)?!

These, and other trends, stand to stymie any positive developments from the inexorable rise of eSports. Moreover, such partnerships have, so far, been almost exclusively governed by commerce, dollars, market share, ‘eyeballs’ (audience), and fragmented leagues. Like the uber-game, Red Dead Redemption 2, it all has the feel of an unsustainable, Wild West gold rush. In such a rapacious, confusing and polemic environment, many of the potential benefits from using eSports as a means to positive outcomes are lost, or being ignored or, as we contend, have simply not been contemplated and this is where diplomacy comes in.

Yes, diplomacy. At the very mention of the word stereotypes flood the mind, of debonair diplomats operating in secret, cloistered embassies, gorging on canapes and pink champagne, and cutting ill-founded, anachronistic deals that would make Machiavelli turn in his Florentine grave. Such images are, of course, nonsensical (and only partly true!). In addition, they describe a job, not the word. The state, we must remember, does not have a monopoly on diplomacy, particularly, in the plural, twenty-first century.

At its very simplest, the word diplomacy describes a series of processes: the proverbial means to an end, or ends. It is an ancient, civil and – ideally – peaceful institution that tries to promote comity over estrangement, peace over conflict, and mutually reciprocal, win-win outcomes over their antecedents. Diplomacy also bears remarkable similarity to another ancient device aimed at bringing strangers closer together: sport. Such synergies and innovative ideas helped form the young but growing field of studies know as Sports Diplomacy, the strategic, networked use of sport to build relationships between people, nations and sporting organisations in the pursuit of enhanced, mutually reciprocal trade, tourism, education, participation, development, and foreign policy outcomes.  It’s not just theory: the Australian, Japanese, and French Governments have all recently developed Sports Diplomacy strategies, as has the European Commission.

But what’s all this got to do with playing Fortnite outside Margaret Court Arena? Quite simply, the concept of sports diplomacy can be applied, or extended, to eSports, ushering in a new term: eSports diplomacy. In other words, it is time to ask how eSports can be strategically used as means to a series of positive social and diplomatic outcomes (not just dollars, markets and eyeballs)?

Thinking about eSports diplomacy creates immediate benefit. For sporting puritans, and hard as it may be to believe, eSports diplomacy can be used to increase participation in traditional physical sports (the long, storied and continuously painful love of real golf for one of the authors began with a university addiction to PGA Golf on the Sega Megadrive). Indeed, eSports should be integral to the sort of future envisaged in Sports 2030, a document created by Sport Australia (formerly the AIS) which “provides a roadmap for future success for sport in this country.” Remarkably, eSports doesn’t get one mention in this visionary but slightly dated eighty-page document (sorry, folks, but we have to move on from Cathy Freeman, Sydney and 2000). Federal and state governments need to realise sport and eSports can co-exist amicably, symbiotically even.

Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie launches the Sport 2030 nation-wide campaign

For the eSports mob, thinking diplomatically would give them greater strategic direction, common goals to pursue, capacity to negotiate with established players, as well as order, and unity. Clearly, the positive messages about eSports are not getting through, or, more accurately, are being delivered and embodied by gamers, entrepreneurs and fans. For many, eSports continue to be a threat, not an opportunity. The trials and tribulations of trying to get eSports into the 2024 Paris Olympics are a case in point. What, or whom, does eSports actually represent? An industry? A sport? What key messages are they communicating? How do they gather and disseminate information? Are they any good at negotiation? And can eSports bring people closer together, and minimize friction between increasingly estranged people, communities and nations? These are all core diplomatic functions, according to the great Australian diplomacy scholar Hedley Bull, and can be applied to the sort of old and new actors that now constitute our political, social and sporting systems.

The Fortnite Summer Smash, alongside many other examples, confirms that eSports is here to stay. Thinking ahead, the questions for theorists and practitioners are simple: how can eSports transform its image from that of threat to opportunity? And, working in tandem with traditional codes, attitudes, and policies, how can eSports be used as a means to positive, social outcomes in health, inclusivity, sport and general physical and mental wellbeing? In an era of “less social cohesion”, as Hugh MacKay stated in his Australia Day Address, such questions now take on urgent importance.

As was the case with the real gold rushes it pays to remember that only a few prospectors struck it rich. The folks that sold the shovels, picks and pack animals were the ones who made the real money. As such, and tapping into the so-called egalitarian nature of the digital era, the challenge is to turn the eSports rush into something sustainable, positive and meaningful; something that adds value to our society, relationships, bodies, minds and souls.

 

Sporting Biographies of Scottish Women

By Grant Jarvie 

Celebrating Scottish Sporting Women on St Andrew’s Day 

Between 2006 and 2018 we have carefully researched, edited and helped to produce a number of entries within the 1st and 2nd editions of The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Here we celebrate the contribution of Scottish Sporting Women by releasing just some of the entries that our researchers have worked on (in alphabetical order) 

Arran, countess of n Fiona Bryde Colquhoun born Luss, 20 July 1918, died Castle Hill Devon 16 May, 2013. Daughter of Sir Ian Colquhoun of Luss (1887-1948) and Geraldine Bryde (1889-1974). Became Countess of Arran upon marriage on 11 June 1937 to Arthur Strange Gore the 8th Earl of Arran (1910-1983) with who she had 2 sons.

She was introduced to powerboat speed in 1932, aged 13. Her career spanned 15 years (1965-1980). Her first race being at Iver (1965). As the sole woman competitor in the 1966 Paris 6 hours circuit marathon on the Seine, she finished 14th out of 90. In: 1969 she set a record of 55mph in the Cornish 100; 1972 the Class 1 speed record of 55mph at Lake Windermere; 1979 the Class 2 World Record of 93mph and a world record of 102 mph in 1980 at the age of 62. She retired in 1981 the same year she became the first women to be awarded the Segrave Trophy.

She made a brief comeback in 1989 and helped to produce and pilot an electronically propelled hydroplane achieving a silent and environmentally friendly record of 50.825mph at the age of 71.

Buried at Luss, she regularly wore some item of Colquhoun tartan and remained a staunch supporter of Loch Lomond and the surrounding area.

Fuchs, Eileen Margaret Knowles born Ashford, Middlesex 30 May 1920, died Grantown on Spey 11 January 2013 and Jamieson Hilda born Dundee 12 August 1913, died 12 May 2016.

Both women contributed greatly to Scottish Skiing.

Eileen was educated at Croydon High School for Girls and Newnham College, Cambridge where she studied history from 1938-1942.

She travelled to Vienna (1953) to study the violin and met and married Karl Fuchs, an Austrian Olympic Skier.

In 1954 they purchased Struan House Hotel in Carrbridge and founded the Austrian Ski School. For 30 years they helped to pioneer skiing in the Cairngorms. She and her husband were referred to as the mother and father of Scottish skiing.

Her son Peter competed for Great Britain in the Winter Olympic Games (1976).

They sold Struan House in 1984 and after Karl’s death in 1980 Eileen moved to Grantown-on-Spey. She inaugurated the Karl and Peter Fuchs Memorial Fund for the benefit of young Speyside skiers.

Hilda Jamieson along with her husband developed the Glenshee Ski Centre.

Fondly referred as Britain’s oldest skier she was Dundee ladies champion, the Scottish ladies champion and a stalwart member of the Dundee Tennant Trophy Team.

Many of her children and grand-children became Scottish Champion skiers with one of her daughters competing at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games.

Skilled at other sports notably tennis, golf and swimming Hilda exercised throughout her life, taking her last swim aged of 102.

And yet it was Skiing in which she excelled with one obituary describing her as quite possibly’ Scotland’s, the UK’s and possibly the world’s oldest active skier’.

Hamilton, Helen n Elliot, born Edinburgh 20 January 1927, died Perth 12 January 2013.She was 16 years old when she first played table tennis but became the first Scot to win a major World Table Tennis title and as of 2016 remains the only Table Tennis inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame

Her career started at Dalry First Aid Post, moved on to Murrayfield and she then established a long association with the Gambit Club.

Helen Elliott won: 2 World titles; World Championship medals in three consecutive years (1952-1955); singles championship titles in Ireland Wales, England, Belgium, Germany and Scotland; the English Open title in 1949, 1950 and 1958 and the Scottish Open, first in 1946 then for a further 13 consecutive years.

She spent many years developing the game in Scotland, and served many national and international Table Tennis organisations. She, coached at Summer Table Tennis Camps throughout the UK, served as Honorary President of Scottish Table Tennis Association and was nominated President of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation in 1997 and 2005.

Newstead, Isabel n Barr born Glasgow 3 May, 1955, died Harlow 18 January 2007.A Paralympian who won 14 medals across three sports during a 24-year Olympic career (1980-2004).

Newstead grew up in Renfrewshire and enjoyed success as a county swimmer. A flu virus caused an injury to her spinal cord and lead to tetraplegia – partial or complete paralysis of all four limbs. Her rehabilitation programme included swimming and in 1975 she enrolled at Port Glasgow Otters. Her determination to cope with her disability was noted by Britain’s paraplegic team members and that connection propelled her on the road to 25 years of international endeavour.

By: 1984 Newstead had won nine Olympic medals; 1988 she had been selected for the Paralympic Games in Seoul where she won four medals; 2000 a new world-record score had been set in Sydney and in The Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004 she won a gold medal in the women’s air pistol.

Awarded an MBE in the 2000 New Year Honour’s list, Isabel was the first high performance disabled athlete to be inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

Jarvie Margaret n Bolton born 20 January 1928 Motherwell, died 15 April 2004 Edinburgh.

One of only 2 women to win all Scottish swimming championship titles from 50 -1000 yds. She was part of Motherwell Ladies Relay Team described by the press (1942) ‘as the finest team of speedsters in Scottish swimming history’.

From 1944-48 she held Scottish senior titles breaking the Scottish breast stroke record in 1945. The Lanarkshire Olympians featured her and David Jarvie (husband) as part of an aquatic team that amassed 4 world, 47 British and 172 Scottish records (1936-1960).

She recalled being lodged with a wealthy family for a gala thinking “Why can my parents not live like this?” Her sense of political awareness developed and continued into encouraging disadvantaged people into higher education, providing free counselling to prostitutes, being invited to work with radical groups at Ruskin College and adopting Colin, one of the earliest non-white adoptions into an all white family in 1960’s Scotland. She lived The Swimming Club philosophy that everyone was equal

An obituary attributed ‘among the mothers of counselling in Scotland pride of place to Margaret Jarvie’ and described her as ‘one of the agents of the transition over fifty years of women’s position’.

The Hampden Case

By

Grant Jarvie
University of Edinburgh

The Scottish Football Association decided to stay at Hampden and in this short review we consider some of the evidence, arguments and background to the decision.

While the costs of the Hampden v Murrayfield cases were different the final judgement may not have been just about economic costs but social, cultural, community and financial assets and voices that all needed to be listened too.

Prior to the decision The Scottish Football Association (SFA) rented the 115-year old ground from its Queen’s Park owners under the terms of a lease which expires in 2020.

In June 2017 the SFA reiterated that the preferred option was for Hampden Park to remain the home of the national game and that a decision would be made within 12-18 months.

14 months later and within the time scale set by the SFA the decision was made.

The historic case is no small thing. This is not just about the fact that: the origins of the relationship between football and Hampden go back to at least 1873; the oldest football international in the world is associated with Hampden; or that Hampden is part of the story of Glasgow at play that cannot be simply be relocated.

Scotland has given a lot to the world of sport and the relationship between football and Hampden is an important part of that success story. Glasgow has established itself as an emerging international sporting city and Hampden is part of that success story. It is the only Scottish city and one of only two UK cities in the top 20 sportcal index of international sporting cities. Hampden helps to connect Scotland and Glasgow with other parts of the world.

While Italy does not have a national football stadium a survey of FIFA members showed that 65% of UEFA members (Europe) 83% of CONCACAF (North, Central America’s and the Caribbean); 81% OF CAF(Asia); 80% of CONMEBOL (South America) and 41% of AFC (Africa) members all have national football stadiums.

The attempt by the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) to shift the football powers from Glasgow to Edinburgh was ambitious and the decision to bid may still have spin offs for the SRU. The competitive advantages of ground ownership, greater stadium capacity allowed the SRU to offer the SFA financial inducements of up to £2 million per annum.

The SRU recognise the pull of football. Global impact studies will show that one in five people around the world connect with football is someway or another. It has a pull and attraction that is unparalleled and Scotland has an internationally recognised foothold in this world that many sports would like to tap into.

The fact that football playing members of football governing bodies are more than double that of rugby would not have gone unnoticed. The gradual increase in playing members sees football growing from 120,000 playing members in 2014 to 137,134 by 2017 compared to rugby’s modest growth from 47,598 in 2014 to 48,654 in 2017. In terms of adult men and women and junior boys and girls football numbers are far higher than rugby.

This is not the golden age for opinion pols. A 2017 survey of Scottish football fans showed that: 15% of the 2,923 involved wanted Hampden Park to continue as the national stadium; 34% of fans favoured a move to Murrayfield; playing at grounds across Scotland was the preference of 25%; 24% wanted a “new Hampden” built while 97% believed fans should have input to the decision. But what were the views of the 67,887 Scottish Football Supporters Association members who didn’t take part in the survey? Were the views represented mainly those of the bigger clubs who would financially benefit from the demise the National Football Stadium?

The prospect of regular Old Firm football matches being played at Murrayfield prompted the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) to put a marker down about the additional human and financial costs associated with policing the M8 corridor should the move to Murrafield have been sanction by the SFA Board. It is one thing for an Edinburgh Tory councillor to suggest that this is just a matter of resources but it is another thing entirely to find such resources on a regular basis.

The SFA would certainly have had to contribute to the cost of Murrayfield policing. It is a matter of judgement as to whether scarce SFA resources should be spent on policing or grassroots community developments given the proven benefits of football in relation to social cohesion and crime reduction.

In a nation that believes that devolved power and voice should be listened to the Mount Florida Community Council made their views known. The third Hampden Park, located on Mount Florida some 500 yds south of it’s predecessor opened in 1903. In a letter to Hampden Park Limited the Mount Florida Community Council put forward the case for remain on the grounds of the cost to local heritage, the local economy and local identity.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken warned of a historic stain that would be impossible to erase should Hampden, Queens Park, King’s Park and Mount Florida be abandoned. The promise of increased capacities through the introduction of safe standing, improved transport links and a user friendly council to assist the SFA with any stadium alterations were all forthcoming. Glasgow City Council need to stand by promises made.

In someway Hampden suffered, as does Scottish sport, from not having a unified voice fighting and advocating for Hampden. The danger would be that Hampden and Scottish Football did not fully realise what it had until it was too late.

The reason why Hampden had to remain the national home of Scottish Football is that Hampden is the national and international recognised home of Scottish Football. Most FIFA member countries have national football stadiums. Hampden can and should be improved but it would have been be cultural theft and vandalism to move it out of it’s current location. Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Hearts, Aberdeen and the SRU may have gained financially in some small way if football moved away from Hampden but Scotland as a whole would lose nationally and internationally.

Scotland has a recognised base, role and reputation through football and therefore why would and should it have moved to a base where in the words of the SRU’s chief operating officer ‘Rugby has to take priority’. This is not mutuality, this is not equality, and it would not have been good for Scotland or Scottish football.

Scotland’s future with football looks bright and the most recent Social Return on Investment Report highlighted the fact that football was worth £1.25 billion to Scottish Society. At least four things are worth highlighting:

GIRLS’ AND WOMEN’S FOOTBALL
Continues to grow and develop, inspired by the Scottish Women’s
National Team qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.
The Scottish FA have some ambitious targets to develop the game on and off the pitch. We have some of the best players in the world who act as role models for players and young people across Scotland.

HAMPDEN AS HOME
Ownership of Hampden Park will enable the Scottish FA to control the future of the stadium. It will open up opportunities to continue to develop the infrastructure and create a national stadium that could engage the next generation of football fans.

FOOTBALL FOR ALL
The Scottish FA are committed to working with clubs and partners to make football accessible for all. It aims to make our game as diverse as possible to represent our communities.

COMMUNITY CLUBS
Scotland has some of the finest examples of community clubs in Europe. As clubs continue to grow and develop football has been working hard with the football family to
offer advice and guidance, both on and off the pitch, to allow clubs, no matter their place in the pathway to fulfil their ambitions.

FOOTBALL SRI FACTS
£200m to the economy
£300m worth of social benefits, including crime reduction
£700m worth of health benefits

Professor Grant Jarvie
University of Edinburgh

Kofi Annan 1938-2018 “We must use the power of sport as an agent of social change”

By Grant Jarvie

A Sporting Tribute to Kofi Annan

As a person the commitment to justice, human rights, peace and development were resolute. As a person Kofi Annan understood the potential of sport to convey humanitarian messages.

In a tribute to the former UN Secretary General’s work and commitment to some of the shared ideals with the Academy of sport we present extracts from speeches that recognised the potential of sport to be an agent of social change.

“Sport is an important tool to promote many of the things that are dear to me – democracy, social and developmental change, social cohesion and understandings among people” Kofi Annan (2010).

On Ghana and FIFA World Cup in South Africa

“The lasting trophy to take away from the tournament is this incredible moment of unity. I wish we could preserve it and invoke it more broadly for the development and wellbeing of the continent. There is no reason why we should wait another four years for another moment of solidarity; we can draw upon what you have created, now”

“Crucially, this unity went far beyond the shores of our continent. Millions of non-Africans cheered for you, too, something that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. I am sure, we have all felt at some stage of our lives that the world is united against Africa. But this World Cup, and particularly your last match, has shown the enormous goodwill towards our continent. You won – we all won – because you opened so many hearts and eyes”

On the UN and sport 

“Indeed, when Secretary-General, I admit we at the United Nations were often a little jealous of the power, and indeed, universality of sport.

Both the IOC and FIFA have, for example, more members than the UN. At the last count, the UN has 192 members compared to 208 who belong to FIFA.

It was why I was so determined at the UN to use sport more effectively to achieve development goals.

It is a huge tribute to sport in general – and to all of you here – that you have long recognised sports’ wider responsibility to society and its ability to drive social change”

Sport as an engine of social change 

“As Secretary-General, I appointed the former President of Switzerland, Adolf Ogi, as the first Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.

This was followed by the establishment of an Inter-Agency Task Force and, in 2005, the UN’s successful International Year for Sport and Physical Education.

Our aim was to ensure sport was seen not as a by-product of development but as one of its engines.”

On sporting capabilities and challenges

“But some outside this knowledgeable audience might ask whether we are not asking too much of sport.

They are right to remind us that sport, above all, is a game to be enjoyed whether as a participant or as a spectator.

But this is to underestimate its convening power and far-reaching potential. Sport is the universal language, understood from Milan to Manila, from Montreal to Montevideo.

It engages and brings our world together in a way few, if any other activity, can manage.

It has an almost unmatched role to play in promoting understanding, healing wounds, mobilizing support for social causes, and breaking down barriers.

It can – and does – encourage pupils to stay in school and parents to get their children immunized.

It is used effectively to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and has helped drive global campaigns against such evils as child labour and landmines.

It provides both a powerful symbol for national identify but also brings people together across continents.

At its simplest, of course, sport and physical activity directly builds fitness and co-ordination, improving mental and physical well-being and resistance to disease.

Sport teaches the values of team-work, discipline and leadership as well as the reward of effort. Each are valuable lessons for life.

It builds confidence and social skills and is key to the healthy development for our children.

And in a world in which billions of us live a more sedentary lifestyle than even a generation ago, it is increasingly vital for all of us.”

On sport and society 

“But the positive benefits of sport go much further than its physical and mental impact for the individual. It is vital, too, for the health and strength of our societies.

Sport, used properly, challenges prejudices, heals divisions and champions tolerance.

I have seen time and time again how sport helps overcome the most deep-rooted conflicts and tensions.

The annual Twic Peace Olympics in southern Sudan takes place in a region which for many years has been scarred by ethnic and tribal conflict.

War was still raging when the first games were held a decade ago after organizers spotted how make-shift games of volleyball allowed refugees from different tribes to play together.

Sports fields, no matter how rough, have been places for centuries where fears and suspicions can be put aside.

The Twic games allow those from different communities to meet and compete with and against each other in friendship.

Now supported by a whole range of different organizations, the annual games attract global interest and are seen as a symbol of what sport can achieved in the most difficult situations.

Sport has, of course, frequently been used to cross divides between countries from the days of ping-pong diplomacy between the US and China to the way North and South Korea appear together today at international sporting events.

But it can also help heal divisions within countries and enable countries to come to terms with past and present tensions.

Just think of how the success of the Iraqi national football side in winning the Asia Cup in 2007 sparked scenes of jubilation in every community.

The side which included Sunnis, Shias and Kurds showed their fellow citizens – and the world as a whole – what could be achieved by working together.

The 400 metre gold medal won by aboriginal athlete Cathy Freeman at the Sydney Olympics did more to bring Australia together and enable it to face up to the past than any number of Government task forces or report.

And, of course, the far-reaching impact of South Africa’s triumph in the 1995 Rugby Union World Cup was recently portrayed in the film Invictus.

President Mandela understood that, just as the sports boycott had helped undermine the apartheid, sport could also heal its deep scars.

Sport promotes social integration, overcoming prejudices of race, background and gender.

It is sadly not yet the case that racism has been rooted out of sport. There is, as I know you fully recognise, much more to do.

But without sport, I believe racism would be much more prevalent in many of our societies.

It is hard to continue thinking yourself superior to those of other races or backgrounds, if your sporting hero has another skin colour or religion.

The selection of players from backgrounds for national teams has helped bring races together – and also built a new sense of national pride and belonging.

France’s World Cup triumph in 1998 – a team which featured Zidane, Desailly and Blanc – had a positive effect on how the country saw itself.

Sport is also proving important in breaking down gender barriers, and providing role models for empowering girls and women.

The international success of female athletes in many parts of Africa is giving the continent new heroines role models, challenging prejudices and helping girls achieve their own ambitions.

This is another important impact of the Twic Games at which girls, in a very traditional society, are treated as equals.

We have all seen, too, how sport helps people look anew at those with disabilities and provides a valuable route for integration.

The Paralympics and Special Olympics have been an extraordinary success, enabling us to focus on what people can do rather than what they can not.”

Sport , civil society, partnership 

It is through partnership, not only with development agencies but with civil society and the private sector that we can maximise the impact of sport for good in our world.

Thank you for all you are doing. With clear goals and renewed effort, we can achieve together a great deal more in the years to come to harness the potential of sport to improve lives across our planet.”

Concluding remark

Kofi Annan has been a powerful voice for the poor and a tireless advocate for peace, international security and human rights. The extracts presented from speeches during his period as secretary-general of the United Nations demonstrate that he understood the realpolitik of sport in society and the challenge remains to make the sense of purpose, mission  and leadership provided by his successes and failures into more of a reality. Kofi Annan understood that sport could be a resource of hope and optimism. 

The use of Sport initiatives to promote Human Rights in Palestine

By Asil Said 

 

Introduction

Books and Boxers and the Right to Movement are but two interventions aiming to make a difference to the lives of youth in Palestine. This Academy of Sport- Sport Matters blog provides an evidenced insight into the struggle for sport as a human right within Palestine. 

Sport, Palestine and the International Community

Sport and physical activity has international recognition as a simple, low cost and effective tool for development, and a means of achieving national and international development goals. The United Nations Agenda 2030 has provided sport with a mandate to contribute to social change.

In Palestine, due in part to the charged political situation and unrest in the region, sport has a significant opportunity and potential to be used as a tool for social change, promoting values such as gender equality, racial equality, health promotion, education, human rights awareness and social cohesion.

Sport has not claimed a position of priority within Palestinian policy agendas and it remains one of the least funded, supported and regulated sectors of development.

This is perhaps surprising given that youth (ages 15-29) comprise 30% of the total Palestinian population. All children and youth under the age of 29 comprise over 50% of the population.

The lack of sport activities and initiatives has contributed to an unhealthy environment that has led to participation in conflict and/or criminal activity.

Sport and Human Rights:

Participation in sport and physical activity is a recognised right to which people are entitled:

  • Article 1 of the Revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity an Sport adopted by UNESCO’s General Assembly (2015) states that:

“The practice of physical education, physical activity and sport is a fundamental right for all”.

  • Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirms the right of persons with disabilities to: “Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport”.
  • Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: “Children have the right to relax and , and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities”.
  • Article 10 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) states men and women should have “the same Opportunities to participate actively in sports and physical education”; and Article 13 states that: women have the “right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects of cultural life”.
  • Sports has more recently been recognized by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee for its active role in contributing to Agenda 2030 and  the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sport and physical activity is also an important facilitator of a number of other internationally recognized human rights, including:

  • The right to participate in cultural life, enshrined in Article 27 of the UDHR and Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
  • The right to health, enshrined in Article 25 of the UDHR, Article 12 of the ICESCR, Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Article 11 and 12 of CEDAW.
  • The right to rest and leisure, included in Article 24 of the UDHR and Article 7 of the ICESCR.

With the goal of increasing the participation of young people in sport as a human right and using it to assist in the achievement of human rights for youth in Palestine, many private initiatives, (led mainly by NGOs, local community organizations and individual athletes) have advanced successful interventions linking human rights to sports and youth in Palestine.

Books and Boxers: 

ElBarrio Gym is a for-profit business established in 2016 aiming to enable and assist sport in Palestine. The initiative “Books and Boxers” focuses on male adolescents in Ramallah’s poorest public schools (ages 13-16). It teaches boxing through a programme implemented with the help of the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

The programme is implemented with the aim of lowering high school dropout rates in the city of Ramallah, which is 15% higher than the reported 2.4% dropout rate for males enrolled in secondary education institutions in Palestine. With a violent culture surrounding such areas and public schools, ElBarrio wanted to use sport as a means to an end and  to create a shift in the way boys felt about education.

In addition to boxing training, ElBarrio Gym looked to provide psychological support for the participants, giving them the privacy and space to share their feelings and thoughts, as well  providing academic and educational support to sustain enrolment in school.

The programme hopes to reiterate the success with boys by targeting female students of public schools not only working towards lowering dropout rates but also shifting socially constructed barriers and perceptions related to female participation in martial arts and violent sports.

Nader Jayousi, the boxing coach responsible of the programme stated in an interview:

“The programme aims to create a safe space for the kids to practice sport, release their anger and learn that being active can support them and offer them an alternative future from the one they think they will have”.

A picture taken from the after school program “Books and Boxers” implemented by ElBarrio Gym in Ramallah, aiming to lower the dropout level of secndary school boys using the sport of Boxing. Source: elbarrio.ps

Right to Movement: Running to tell a different story: 

 The Right to Movement Palestine (RTM) is an entrepreneurial, non-profit, social start-up, that is part of a global running community aiming to run for the basic human right to freedom of movement. The initiative was named after article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State and everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.

In Palestine, RTM laid the foundation for what is now the annual Palestinian Marathon in the city of Bethlehem. The location highlights movement restriction imposed by Israeli occupation and the fact that West Bank Palestinians are unable to find an unbroken distance of 42.1km in any of their major cities.

The marathon runners must turn around after arriving at a checkpoint to complete the official distance.

In addition to their daily running tours in different parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, RTM aspire to establish a running culture in the Palestinian community through empowering young people to practice sports, supporting women’s access to sport and reinforcing the right to physical activity.

Diala Said, one of the organisers of the group in the city of Ramallah said in an interview

“Around the world, you can just put on your shoes and go running, this inspired me to claim not only my own right to move, but the right of my fellow Palestinians to exercise and move freely”.

A picture taken from the 2016 Palestinian Marathon organized by RTM, showing Palestinian athletes running alongside the Israeli “Separation Wall” in the city of Bethlehem, to highlight the lack of right to movement in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Source; Right to Movement Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/righttomovement.org/

What next?

To fully utilise sport as a tool for human rights, a change in national and international policies is fundamental. This change starts with increasing the involvement, investment and communication between sporting and human rights organizations, which will in turn support the sustainability of sports initiatives while emphasising a range of individual and collective benefits associated with participation in sport as a human right.

In addition,  advancing widening access to sport programmes and initiatives (current ones and ones to be developed) to financial, institutional and development support as well as effectively activating government resources needs to be fought for.

A recognition of the role that sport can play in advancing  human rights within the Palestinian community needs to take place alongside more deliberate and direct strategies and policies working towards the mainstreaming” of sport.

 

United States Sport Diplomacy under 3 Presidents

By Joe Marro

For decades, the U.S. has aimed to use sport as an effective aspect of diplomacy and cultural relations efforts with a view to establishing deep, meaningful relationships with local stakeholders.

America’s use of sports diplomacy involves the work of influential athletes, local programmes and partnerships around the globe.

Sport has played an important role in developing America’s international image. This was evident in the American boycotts of some Cold War era Olympic Games, the work of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Billy Jean King, Arthur Ashe and NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in China.

The Sports Diplomacy Division

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush’s Administration created Sports United, now the Sports Diplomacy Division (SDD), to use sport as a way to conduct diplomatic outreach between the U.S. and countries in the Middle East.

These efforts included sending U.S. athletes and coaches overseas as well as the Sports Visitor Program, which brings non-elite athletes and coaches to the U.S. for a training and development programme.

SDD made significant strides during the Obama Administration, including the creation of two new programmes aimed at increasing access to sport participation for women and girls and developing female emerging leaders in sport.

In a 2013  study  conducted by Management Systems International and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Policy and Evaluation, 92% of respondents said that their views of the American people had improved after participating in SDD programming.

The Sports Diplomacy Division consists of several programmes which aim to use sports as a platform for addressing foreign policy priorities across the globe.

SDD programmes have been growing and enhancing their impact. In the period from 2010 through 2013, the Sports Visitor, Sports Grants, and Sports Envoy programs all experienced significant growth.

  •  The Sports Visitor Program increased their impacted countries by 229% and experienced a 142% increase in the number of Sports Visitor participants.
  •  The Sports Grants program’s number of participants from 2010-2013 was 85% of their total participants in the eight years prior.
  •  The Sports Envoy Program had 179% more coaches and players in this four-year range than the previous eight years and reached 59% more countries than reached from 2005 to 2009.

Using sport to tackle global issues

Sports and Gender Equality

The work of the SDD is critical in improving opportunities for girls and women to participate in sport around the world.

In 2012, the State Department partnered with espnW to establish the Global Sports Mentoring Programme, which pairs emerging international women leaders with leading American female sports executives.

SDD’s Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative works to engage with underserved youth, particularly girls, in order to increase sport participation levels, raise levels of self-esteem, and increase focus on access to quality education.

This presents an opportunity for female leaders to participate in a five-week mentorship in the U.S. and allows them to bring lessons back into their communities with a view to promoting and fostering the growth of more female sport leaders.

Sport and Global Health

Physical activity has been shown to be an important part of preventative strategies to address global health. SDD works to increase physical activity through programmes like the International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI), which awards grants to U.S. non-profits working in 10 countries. This programme benefits both its international participants and U.S. non-profits, with 57 grants implemented through 38 different NGOs in the period from 2002-2009.

Since the programme’s introduction in 2002, there have been 862 Americans engaged in sport for development programmes overseas, and 1,462 foreign participants who have travelled to the U.S. to gain knowledge of the sport for change infrastructure.

Sport for Community

Since 2012, alumni from SDD’s “Sport for Community” programme  have mobilised close to 5,000 volunteers and impacted nearly 100,000 people through sports workshops, clinics, and conferences at the local level.

The Sport for Community programme partners with the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society at the University of Tennessee (UTK) to deliver these services across the country.

These partnerships with Universities like UTK, as well as the University of Kentucky’s  Global Centre for Sport Diplomacy are a sound method for delivering critical sport for development and social change programmes around the country.

These partnerships work to address pressing challenges both within the U.S. and abroad, in addition to serving a crucial role in helping to develop future leaders in the field.

American Professional Sports and Diplomacy

The United States Sports Diplomacy and cultural relations efforts also include harnessing the worldwide popularity of American sports leagues and athletes. In the past, athletes have visited countries where engagement with populations through traditional methods of outreach has proved challenging.

In early 2016, the SDD brought stars like NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to Cuba to engage directly with Cuban youth and build upon the work of people-to-people exchanges. Sport is seen as a natural avenue for engaging Cuban youth and encouraging a closer relationship between the two nations in the decades to come.

These efforts can be replicated in countries where direct public engagement is needed to foster relationships.

Along these lines, the National Basketball Association has made significant progress in growing the game of basketball and the American basketball product globally, especially in Europe and Asia. In China, the NBA has worked with the Chinese Ministry of Education to administer a programme focused on basketball and physical fitness that it is anticipated to be taken up by some 2,000 schools across China.

The U.S. government has a unique opportunity to partner with U.S. based professional sport leagues like the NBA who have already made significant strides in growing their international influence. These types of partnerships help to advance U.S. cultural relations efforts abroad, deliver key services to countries in need, and, where appropriate, help in growing meaningful relationships with governments.

Where are we now?

Despite the many successes of the SDD and the proven track record of sport for development around the world, the current Administration has proposed wide-scale cuts to the State Department’s appropriations, the federal funding source for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, of which SDD is a part.

Given the scope and impact of its programmes, the Sport Diplomacy Division boasts a significant return on investment, spending just .0001% of the State Department’s budget.

This month’s shakeup at the State Department, resulting in the ouster of Secretary Rex Tillerson and President Trump’s appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement, raises several questions for America’s diplomatic strategy going forward.

Mr. Tillerson presided over and supported proposed deep cuts to the Department’s budget and diplomatic corps. The first fourteen months of the Trump Administration have demonstrated an expected move away from soft power, creating a cloud of doubt around the role of diplomacy, including sport diplomacy and it’s place in America’s foreign policy over the next three years.

Clausewitz on ice: sports diplomacy and the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games

By Stuart Murray

Introduction

The topic of sports diplomacy at the 2018 Pyeongchang ‘peace’ Winter Olympics has made headline news the world over. Newspapers, television and social media posts are full of stories about North Korean sport (sic.) diplomacy, Kim Yo-jong’s handshake with Moon Jae-in, the thawing of the frosty North/South relationship, a grim Mike Pence saying ‘we’re not playing’, and, of course, North Korea’s cheerleading squad. Most of these stories, however, miss the mark by quite some distance. There is nothing new about sports diplomacy nor anything genuine about the North’s attempts to build bridges with their sworn enemies. Dictators, it has to be remembered, love sport just as much as sports lovers or the general publics.

Sport and Diplomacy – An Overview

The relationship between sport and diplomacy can be traced back over millennia, way, way beyond the Ancient Olympiad. Games, play, running, sport are woven into human DNA, and can be evidenced across all periods of the human story. This is why modern humans still play, watch, and, arguably, enjoy running, wrestling, boxing, fighting, fishing, hunting, javelin and more.

Besides a bit of fun, sport also provides a vital diplomatic function. It sublimates conflict, transcends acrimony in hostile relationships, promotes comity over xenophobia, and helps mediate the estrangement caused by the political structures humans create, be they rudimentary or advanced. Again, this diplomatic function of sport is as ancient as the sport of running. The earliest human societies used sport for social, cultural and diplomatic purposes, especially to avoid inter-group conflict. This idea relates to the psychologist Gordon W. Allport’s classic Contact Hypothesis. Simply, sport provides a ‘level playing field’ for separated people to meet which, in turn, reduces tension, division, xenophobia, and the sort of misunderstandings that often lead to inter-group violence. From the First Peoples of Australia to ancient Egypt and the Cradle of Civilization, there is plenty of evidence of sport being consciously employed to increase contact, and, ergo, reduce the prospect of violence between disparate people, nations and city-states.

Mandela captured the diplomatic essence of sport, famously, and correctly, noting in 2000 that it “has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” This statement encapsulates both the spirt and purpose of Olympic Diplomacy. Perhaps the most well-know iteration is the concept of the Truce. During the Ancient Olympiad, the Truce (Ekecheria, the Greek word for ‘a staying of the hand’) afforded athletes, spectators and officials protection while travelling to and from the Games. The Ancient Games were also an expression of Pan-Hellenism. While Sparta, Argos, Athens and many others had their military rivalries and political differences sport was something they all had in common. It transcended politics, in other words.

The Olympics

The modern Games are similar in nature, spirit and purpose to their ancient predecessor. Their architect, the French educator and historian, Pierre de Coubertin, intentionally infused them with the ancient spirit. In Paris in the year1894 – and sounding very much like a Delphic priest – he raised a glass “to the Olympic idea, which has traversed the mists of ages like an all-powerful ray of sunlight and returned to illumine the threshold of the twenty first century with a gleam of joyous hope.”

These qualities are manifest in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, though sometimes it’s hard to detect them beyond the hype, razzmatazz, politics, mascots, diplomacy and rampant, rapacious commercialism. All athletes must, for example, swear an Olympic Oath that dates to the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games. And, curiously, every aspect of the Games – from security to athlete accommodation to the rules and regulations – are infused with the ideal of Olympisim, which seeks to “create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles (IOC 2015). In such a context, Olympic sport is much more than just competing, winning and representing a nation abroad. It is a both a vehicle to, and representation of, philosophy, education, social responsibilities, and universal and spiritual ethical principles.

The Games – ancient or modern, summer or winter – also have an overt political character. While clearly a sports-idealist, Coubertin was also a savy political operator. From the outset, he knew the Olympic Games could promote sport as a spiritual and diplomatic force for good but only if it worked with, and within, a world of nation-states. “The leadership of Coubertin”, as Beacom – author of International Diplomacy and the Olympic Movement – notes, was “inherently political with internationalist aspirations,” and, “sensitive to the power of nationalist aspiration.” The Olympics, in other words, are a classic example of sport, politics, and, by extension, diplomacy ‘mixing.’

North and South Sporting Detente

This brings us back to the North/South sporting detente occurring at the Pyeongchang ‘peace’ games. Before getting carried away by all the talks of ‘peace at last’ it is important to remember a few, hard truths about the relationship between sport, politics and diplomacy. The Games unite swathes of people but, in the hands of egotistical or savvy political operators they can be used to cast a spell over the global sporting public.

First, it must be remembered that sporting mega-events are often hijacked by political leaders for jingoistic purposes. Usually it’s the host nation showing off but in the case of the Pyeongchang Games, the potentially unruly, Stalinist and kleptocratic northern neighbour has played the better, nationalist game – the olive branch offered weeks before the game, the huge military parade complete with goose-stepping soldiers on the eve of the Winter Olympics, and the charm offensive of Kim Yo Jong, are but a few examples of classic hijacking.

Second, Kim’s sister, it must be remembered is no diplomat. She is Vice Director of the Workers Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, with a remit of pumping good propaganda that venerates her basketball-loving brother, as well as the beloved State. The objective observer is left with the impression that the North is playing a complex, multi-dimensional game aimed at different audiences: domestic, Korean, regional and international.

Third, the sports diplomacy on show in Pyeongchang is not new. It is downright old-fashioned, Machiavellian and traditional. Sport is being employed – by both the North, the South and the stony-faced Mr. Pence – as a ‘continuation of policy by other means’, to borrow from Clausewitz. The North hasn’t had a change of heart or policy because of some two-week snow festival on its doorstep.

Conclusion
The DPRK policy has not changed since the time of Kim’s grandfather: survive, profit, and drive a wedge between the American, Japanese, and South Korean alliance….by any means possible, sport included. Coubertin would, no doubt, be suitably appalled and thrilled at the same time.

Stuart Murray is an Associate Professor at Bond University and Global Fellow at The Academy of Sport, Edinburgh University, and author of Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2018).

Sport for Development, Football and Chile: Voices from The Fútbol Más Program

By
Constanza Campos Correa
University of Edinburgh

The biography of the Chilean soccer star Alexis Alejandro Sánchez is indicative of the social and economic advantages that success in professional sport may bring to individuals who grew up in challenging circumstances. Football continues to be a social mobility pathway for the few and not the many. While wealthy transfers tend to be headline news what is less well known is the way in which football works for other people in Chile.

United Nations
The United Nations has recently (2015) provided sport with an international mandate to contribute to the 2030 Sustainable development goals. Sport for development and peace (SDP) and sport for change (SC) programmes differ from sport development programmes because they intentionally plan to deliver other outcomes through sport. One of the issues with such programmes is the lack of evidence involving participants who can testify to the extent to which the sports interventions have been effective after a period of time.

The Fútbol Más Program
The Fútbol Más Program was created in 2009, the organisation works in eight different countries along three continents, with around 5.000 kids and in 70 neighbourhoods. Their background of being an organisation created in the Global South, expanded to the rest of the world more than 10 years ago, and their international reputation, provided the perfect scenario to explore the impact of an SDP programme in Chile.

The Study
This small study explored the way in which one football programme worked for a group of young Chilean kids who participated in the Fútbol Más Program. Very few SDP and SC programmes systematically track over a period of time the benefits, successes and challenges experienced by the participants several years after they have left the programme.

This study worked with a group of nine kids who had left the programme five years ago with a view to listening to their accounts of how the programme had impacted upon their lives. This research worked with a specific group of nine young adults who, in 2012, won the national league of the organisation. The participants were between 17 to 19 years old from a small neighbourhood in the north of Chile.

Two waves or phases of analysis were undertaken. The first wave of analysis listened to the participants during three different phases of their lives in relation to the Fútbol Más Programme, before, during and after. The responses covered five different areas, education, health, inclusion and community building, mass participation in physical activity and social behaviour.

The second wave of analysis listened to feedback to the programme organisers.

The five areas mentioned above are covered in turn:

Education
One of the most important aspects observed in education is that six of the nine participants explained that they had learned new social abilities such as sociability and self-confidence with the programme and that these were especially useful and observable within the school.

These new skills gave rise to important changes in the personality of the participants, affecting them in positive ways, such as how to be part of a group, how to create correct interaction with their peers and how to express more personality within the classroom.

They described these new skills as being very useful in their day-to-day lives.

“They taught us values, so that influenced me to change some aspects of my personality. For example, I used to be very shy and I could not talk in front of the class. When I started to participate in the programme, I felt like I had more personality”.

Health
Although more difficult to measure, two of the participants described positive changes in their physical health after participating in the programme, such as weight loss and support to come through the experience of having heart disease.

In addition to this there were recorded some important changes to participants in relation to happiness and positive feeling, and in the majority of cases, those feelings were maintained over time. Consequently, the programme achieved one of their main goals, which is to contribute to the happiness of children.

“The motivation was different. I woke up to go to the school with a more positive attitude, and I waited for the Fútbol Más classes with a lot of expectation”.

Inclusion and Community Building
Participants perceived a significant change in the community as a result of the presence of the programme in the local neighbourhood.

They described a high level of the respect and support from the community towards the programme. Because of this, it could be observed that the programme created an impact in the community, integrating them into the project and creating a positive development of social capital such as stronger networks, higher levels of trust and pride in being part of the community.

Additionally, the project affords the participants the opportunity to continue in the project as leaders and monitors, integrating and creating opportunities for the young people of the community as well.

“It is a big responsibility for me to still be involved with the community, because the parents want me to be the teacher of their kids, and they chose me as the best leader one year”.

Mass Participation in Physical Activity
It can be observed from the participants’ responses that currently eight out of nine young adults practiced the World Health Organisations (2017) recommended hours of PA in comparison with five out of nine participants that were practising the recommended hours of PA before Fútbol Más.

It might be perceived that Fútbol Más has the potential to make a good contribution in the area of Mass Participation in lower class income groups, which is the social group who participate less in PA in Chile.

Consequently, the programme could be creating or enabling sustained PA participation over a long term period (five years), and helping to achieve what sport policies in many countries fail achieve with lower class income groups.

This participation in PA is created at no monetary cost. This area is important to highlight, because football, especially in an unequal country such as Chile, is a good alternative as a social tool used to tackle poverty.

At the same time, this might give rise to illusions for young children and families to become famous football players, which just a small number of children manage to do. This illusion is not the sole problem, for this illusion might also be surrounded by business and the need to pay to play in football clubs.

That it is why Fútbol Más could contribute to create a participation in Physical Activity, with no cost to the government or families.

Social Behaviour
The main findings were associated with how the programme could be a means of prevention. Judging by the responses of the participants, all of them highlighted the main values of the programme (respect, responsibility, happiness, creativity and teamwork) as an important aspect of the programme that could influence their social behaviour in a positive way.

 

Also, most of the positive responses relating to the influence of those values in their actual lives were from participants who were no longer part of the organisation.

This could suggest that the main values taught to them by the organisation creates an impact on the participants across a long term period (five years), and could be discouraging them from participating in some forms of anti- social behaviour.

“I think Fútbol Más helped me to be a better person as a player. I learned how to be modest with my achievements in football, to be more generous with my teammates and respectful with the teachers. Also, they taught me to believe in me and to be sure of what I want to achieve in my life”.

Second phase analysis
This brief contribution will limit itself to making two further observations that can be drawn from the conversations with the programme participants.

Remarkable aspects
One of the most valuables characteristics of the programme described by the participants was the academic and human quality of the teachers. This aspect is very important for the purpose of the project, because it is this strong connection and impact (generated by the teacher towards the participants) that would contribute to making it possible to the long term impacts from the SDP programme for the participants.

Possible changes
The participants were also asked about their concerns about the programme, and one of the main topics discussed was related to the end of the project. This stage was for all of the participants, a hard one to accept, even when some of them continued in the programme and had a chance to develop within a new area in the organisation.

The main frustration from the participants originated from the impossibility to compete with the programme, and, at the same time, in this stage some of the participants felt frustrated about their dreams to become a professional football player. In this crucial stage for the participants, it would perhaps be beneficial to extend the categories so that the participants could continue until they were 18 years old and further sustain sustain the development of participants, and perhaps support the young adults in this complicated stage when they are dealing with important decisions about their futures.

“I really liked the competitive part of Fútbol Más, to have matches, to try to be the best and to play with other teams. I think this aspect motivates me the most to play football and to be part of a team”.

Concluding Comment
Very little has been written about sport for development in Latin America and this study makes a small contribution in trying to contribute to the gap in sport for development research in Latin America and in this case Chile.

Biography
The researcher herself is Chilean and the motivation behind the small study was to help to contribute to an area of knowledge about Chile and provide a further basis for dialogue about SDP in a larger Latin American set of contexts.

The researcher is grateful to the many people inside and outside of Chile who offered advice, support and knowledge. The researcher has worked both as a sports journalist in Chile and a research assistant with the University of Edinburgh.

Football and the 1914 Xmas Day Truce

By Mason Robbins

University of Edinburgh 

How does 1914 Christmas Day Truce Affect Modern Peace-Building Initiatives?

On a cold, windy day in the middle of the countryside, two groups with very different backgrounds and beliefs lined up next to each other. Unnoticed but by a few in the outside world, these men shared a common bond that has stood the test of time. More than 100 years later, a group of 22 people with similar backgrounds stood in the same field outside of Ypres, Belgium to commemorate where British and German troops laid down their arms and played football to celebrate Christmas away from home. Just like the soldiers from several generations before them, these people set aside their differences and played a symbolic match where the greatest achievement was not the final score but the continued memories of how mortal enemies were able to come together in the middle of a war.

How then does the memory of significant sporting events, such as the Christmas Day Truce of 1914, animate contemporary sport-related peace-building initiatives?

This blog examines the following areas:

  • How memory of events can affect the way people perceive events after conflict.
  • The role of sport in peace-building initiatives.
  •  Reflections upon the argument to how sport may produce more harm than good in community-building efforts.

Football, Memory and Conflict

To understand how memory can be integral in current sport-related peace-building initiatives, we can begin by examining the instance of the use of football in an organically-created, grass-roots effort that created a small window of peace during an era of conflict. The 1914 Christmas Day Truce during World War One, was a moment in modern military history where both sides in a conflict laid down arms and met in ‘no man’s land’ to celebrate a common event. Upon hearing of the ‘unofficial armistice,’ the high command from both sides were enraged by the actions of their non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and sought to end ‘this Elysian [almost divine] situation’. The Truce began on Christmas Eve with German soldiers singing ‘hymns and tunes common to both nations… understandably, a wave of nostalgia passed over us [the British soldiers].’ According to accounts from the trenches by the brothers Frank and Michael Wary, two members of the 1st London Brigade:

A battalion of the 10th Division on our left [flank] arranged a football match against a German team ─ one of their number having found in the opposing unit a fellow member of his local Liverpool football club who was also his hairdresser! Many souvenirs were exchanged… A joint working group party was formed for burying the dead men and animals… A distant improvement in the atmosphere was made, in which we were to continue to live until Easter.

Even though the fleeting peace that evolved in the middle of war during Christmas Day has not been replicated since 1914, peace-building organisations and, to a limited extent, researchers have sought to understand how the memory of peaceful events can affect divided societies.

Memory and Conflict

Memory is an essential tool that is used to record history. Duncan Bell’s definition of collective memory is as the ‘widely shared perceptions of the past, linking the past-present-future to a collective, simplified narrative.’ It is through a group’s collective memory that we are able to use past events to help formulate policy and develop tools for peace-building. The last section presented an observation from two brothers. Unfortunately, since the event was spontaneous and led by NCOs, it was never properly documented and the events of the day were pieced together through the accounts of wounded soldiers who were taken from the front line. Now taking the accounts of the event as recalled by other soldiers and written about by authors ─ such as Stanley Weintraub in Silent Night ─ their collective memory of the event has enabled historians to piece together the events of the Christmas Day Truce. In other words, it is the large number of soldiers’ accounts that validates this historical event.

Another important aspect when dealing with memory and conflict is addressing the role of trauma to an individual or a shared traumatic experience. Jeffery Alexander states that trauma occurs ‘when individuals and groups feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their consciousness, [because it] will mark their memories forever and will change their future in fundamentally irrevocable ways.’ Applying this definition to the Christmas Day Truce, it can be argued that that the trauma of trench warfare affected the soldiers on both sides almost equally. Their shared experience, set within the framework of a common holiday, allowed the two sides to unite around sport while re-humanising the other. As reported by the Wary Brothers, the culmination of this was the two British and German soldiers who realised that they knew each other from before the war and how, even after they were forced to resume fighting, ‘the mood in the trenches changed for the months following’ the event.

When further examining the Wray brothers’ case, it can be seen that the window for using trauma as a tool for unification can be lost as easily as it is established. At the end of the report, it was conveyed that the brothers’ brigade was ‘taken out of the [front] line for a rest period but, unfortunately within a week, we found ourselves involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres during which the majority of the Battalion became causalities.’ The organically created Christmas Day Truce was an opportunity for official peace-building that was lost by the high command, although it was unattainable in the greater context of this war.
It is in these ripe moments that modern peace-builders have to work the hardest to find solutions to conflicts so that opportunities become attainable. Although missing the ripe moment presented in collective trauma can deny opportunities for peace-building, collective memory is not easily lost. This is evident by the commemoration of the Christmas Day Truce many years later: neither side forgot the importance of the truce. The shared trauma, when introduced at the right moment, and the collective memory of an event are two powerful tools that peace-builders have begun to use when developing sport-related initiatives in divided societies.

Peace-Building Initiatives

The use of sport in peace-building initiatives in divided societies is not new but it is oftem misunderstood. One of the often documented examples is the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Nelson Mandela led the push to unite a divided country emerging from under Apartheid by encouraging South Africa’s diverse community to support the national rugby team, historically a white man’s sport. The moment when Mandela handed the championship trophy to the South African Capitan while wearing the shirt and hat of the national team would forever embody the unifying power that sport has on divided societies. This gesture is often viewed as the beginning of the path towards reconciliation in South Africa.

Although there have been many initiatives using sport in divided societies, there is a definite lack of research on the phenomena. John Sugden and Adrian Haasner have compiled one on of the most comprehensive theoretical frameworks for using sport in peace-building:

  • Help people ‘re-humanise’ each other through its ritual ceremonies and ethics of ‘fair play’ and sportsmanship;
  • Help people (re)build relationships in the organisation and conduct of events; and
  • Help build webs [inter-connections] and relationships at the sub-system level.

When analysing the Christmas Day Truce using the Sugden and Haasner model, we can begin to understand how enemies on the battlefield were able to become friends on the football pitch. All three criteria were met on the battlefield that day. Through a collective traumatic experience and a shared background, the mortal enemies were able to re-humanise each other. The soldiers then went on to build relationships through playing sport, exchanging gifts, and even burying their respective casualties together. Finally, the inter-connections were strengthened when they discovered that enemies were formerly neighbours, colleagues, and brothers in sport before the war, which produced a level of mutual respect and understanding in the trenches that lasted for several months after the event.

Darnell has added to the debate on how sport can be used as a positive tool in helping with the development and education of youth in conflict. Citing Armstrong’s research during conflict in Liberia, Darnell adds that ‘while football cannot solve social ills such as poverty, lack of education, and limited access to food and shelter, local football initiatives can offer a path to better health and an opportunity, both metaphoric and practical, to facilitate the development of youth character.’ The most important concept is that football was able to instil the values of sportsmanship and partnership in this Liberian community.

Darnell concludes that, ‘learning to be a sportsperson extends well beyond learning the physical and mental skills necessary to play the game; it also means learning norms of citizenship within the democratic structure that sport requires for its organisation…’ The concept of sportsmanship was a central tool in the outcome of the Christmas Day Truce. No matter the outcome of the game, when it was over, both sides exchanged handshakes and gifts that were treasured many years afterword.

Organised football associations have done their best to minimise the negative effects of sport. However, the luxury of working within the parameters of organised football is not the case when working in most conflict zones where there has been a breakdown in civil society. Sugden and Haasner argue that the actions and desires of individuals who want change and the use their will in sport are a part of a broader range of contested elements in ‘civil society’ that can challenge ‘political society’. It is in ‘understanding the role of sport in the relationship between political and civil society that is the key in understanding the role it can have in the peace processes.’ In other words, peace-builders need to be able to identify the commonalities between different groups in a given society or situation ─ just as the two soldiers from Liverpool did in 1914 ─ in order to build systems that will focus on similarities and minimise differences while being culturally sensitive.

Conclusions
To commemorate the Christmas Day Truce of 1914, the British and German militaries organised a football match on 11 November, 2008 between modern soldiers from the regiments that were said to have played in the original match. Almost reflecting the original outcome (3-2, Germany) the match ended 2-1 with Germany prevailing. The most important outcome from the commemorative match was not the final score but the relationship and the understanding that was rekindled between two powers that historically were enemies. The Truce was commemorated not only to remember those who gave their lives in the Great War but also to remember those few brave men who were willing to cross physical and metaphoric boundaries and break down barriers that were built to help de-humanise the people on the other side.

As seen, the use of sport in areas of conflict does not come without its short falls. Fortunately, practitioners and academics are learning how to minimise the potential toxic elements (i.e. racism, cultural sensitivity, and entrenchment of rivalries) that are associated with introducing sport into a divided society. For sport initiatives to become truly successful, not only do the grass-roots, individual movements have to be engaged, but the political society needs to understand the importance of the peace-building objectives. An unfortunate example of the breakdown of society’s commitment to peace-building was exemplified with the tragedy in Egypt.

Darnell points out that ‘sport does not ease the importance of a political commitment to peace; at best sport offers an entry point into conversations about, and struggles towards, peace building. This notion is the heart of the debate over the role of sport as a tool of peace-building in divided societies. This does not mean that people should not try to introduce new sport-related initiatives in a divided society without a commitment to peace from the political society. The successes of the British Council sponsored programme, Football for Peace, in Israel is a prime example of the effectiveness of a sports programme working in a society where the leadership is not fully committed to peace. This example of successfully bringing Israelis and Palestinians together shows that even though it is harder for these initiatives to become established, there can be a successful outcome.

As the Christmas Day Truce of 1914 has exemplified the effectiveness of sport in the ultimate form of division between relatively similar cultures, sport can produce a unifying force more powerful than war. It is the memory of the event ─ how a simple game unified enemies ─ that has lasted long after that last surviving member has passed on. When active duty soldiers from both Great Britain and Germany played in the commemoration game 94 years later, the legacy and courage of those brave soldiers in 1914 was solidified as a peace-building initiative. The act of having two historically opposing enemies facing off on the same battlefield with active duty soldiers is rarely seen in the modern context in such a highly profiled event.

In the end, using sport as a peace-building tool is not solely the answer when attempting to unite divided societies. However, even though the use of sport in peace-building initiatives has faced obstacles, the successes outweigh the challenges. It is these successes that need to be built upon by practitioners and studied by academics to find the most effective uses of sports initiatives in divided societies.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the memories of events from the past will help peace-builders find ways of helping people involved in conflicts to ‘re-humanise’ their enemy and collectively start to heal from traumatic events. The goal is to help individuals affected by conflict learn how to work as positive contributors within civil society. Then when political society is ready to facilitate peace, the population of educated citizens will be ready to comprehend what it means to be at peace because they will have experienced it through the benefits of sport.

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Archives:
Letter: Vice Admiral B.B. Schofield, London, 13 March 1968. Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London. (LH 15/2/50).
‘Soldiers take part in commemorative football match’, Ministry of Defence, 14 November 2008.
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BBC, ‘Rugby World Cup history: 1995’, 7 October 2003.
BBC, Video: ‘Scores Killed in Egypt Football Riots’, 1 February 2012.

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