Useful for almost anyone interested in sports, but primarily as introductions


Pam R. Sailors
Missouri State University

Yves Vanden Auweele, Elaine Cook & Jim Parry (red)
Ethics and Governance in Sport: The future of sport imagined
229 pages, paperback.
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2017 (Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society)
ISBN 978-1-138-08791-0

Ethics and Governance in Sport is like a Swiss army knife, brilliantly designed and engineered to be of some use to almost anyone in almost any situation. Among the 28 contributors, the editors have put together an amazingly diverse collection, spanning geography (authors from 11 countries on 3 continents), discipline (sports sciences, law, sociology, sports management, economics, philosophy, and kinesiology), gender, and topic. This wide-ranging inclusivity certainly bolsters their claim that the book will be useful “for all stakeholders in the sport sector” (3), even though it means each of the chapters will be brief.

The book is organized around four aims. The editors want, first, to look at current trends in society and in sport and the consequences of those trends. Second, they want to derive from those trends forecasts of possible future developments in various aspects of sport. Next, they aim to suggest ways to resist the trends that are likely to be morally problematic and offer arguments to support the trends that are morally positive. The fourth and final aim is to have the contributing authors “attempt a conceptualization of a totally new philosophy of sport, with original ideas and concepts, and possibly less attention to specific answers to current tendencies” (2). This last aim is ambitious on its own, much less alongside the others and is more successfully reached in the first part of the book than in the following four parts.

Part one, Rethinking and implementing concepts and practices in the future of sport, contains six chapters, each of which looks to the future, in some cases predicting and in others prescribing, the conditions of various elements of sport. Some of the chapters examine general and abstract matters (e.g., integrity, Olympism); others take a narrower focus on particular problems (like gender quotas or coaching practices). The editors suggest that the lesson to be gleaned from these chapters is that “…the imagined future of sport, that could provide the best possible answer to the major challenges of sport in the twenty-first century, will involve working and reflecting on different concepts, problems, and solutions, at all levels, with short- and long-term strategies simultaneously” (217). This sounds a bit like everything about every thing in every way, a perhaps unavoidable risk when compiling a half dozen pieces from a variety of authors on such a big topic.

There are five chapters in the second part of the book, Good governance in a globalized sports world. Beginning from the position that the globalized sports world is not currently well-governed, each of the authors make proposals for how to improve that state of affairs. Specific organizations—the International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and the National Football League (NFL)—are evaluated, along with international sport organizations (ISOs) and mega-sporting events (MSE). The outcomes of these evaluations vary, with prescriptions covering a range of possibilities from less institutional control, to following a social license model, to more centralized control through the creation of a World Sport Governance Agency (WSGA). The acronyms are especially thick in this part, so it is quite helpful that the editors have provided a 2-page list of abbreviations prior to the beginning of the text.

…the screwdriver of a Swiss army knife is not sufficient for a large-scale construction project

The third part of the book, Fair (financial) management in a globalized sports world, is the most specific in its approach, with each chapter focusing on a discrete environment/issue. Case studies involving European football teams, professional road-cycling, the Sport for All movement, and sports law in the European Union, lead to a shared conclusion that traditional ways of conceptualizing financial managements issues are no longer appropriate in a changed sporting world, so innovative management models are needed to ensure (or at least more closely approach) fairness.

The shortest part of the book, with three chapters, is part four, Sport and body enhancement: ethics and possibilities. Although the title refers to “body enhancement,” doping is the more precise practice under discussion here. One of the chapters argues against doping on the grounds that it alienates athletes from the meaning of sport. Toward the conclusion that the doping issue will never be resolved so long as the focus is on enhanced ways of detecting or avoiding detection, the middle chapter offers two provocative claims. One, that athletes who dope are not always cheaters, but instead merely play the same game as their competitors, and two, that anti-doping regulators are more morally suspect than athletes who dope. The third chapter advocates for a more pragmatic approach, moving from zero-tolerance to harm reduction.

Re-conceptualizing “sport for development” is the final part of the book, with four chapters, all discussing the potential of sport to promote the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (2003) like peace and human dignity. The authors all share a skepticism toward romantic notions that development is always positive and that sport and development are always positively linked. Each chapter prescribes, some more explicitly than others, a more empirical data-driven methodology instead of reliance on descriptive studies that privilege the Global North.

At just over 200 pages, inclusive of an Introduction, Epilogue, and introductory sections to each part, each of the twenty-two chapters is brief. While this makes for a nice survey of the themes of the text, it is only a glimpse of “the future of sport” through a very wide lens. Returning to the comparison of this book to a Swiss army knife, there is much to be gained from fitting a large number of tools into a small package, but the screwdriver of a Swiss army knife is not sufficient for a large-scale construction project. The editors have not neglected to address any important issue or perspective, so this book serves its purpose of being useful for almost anyone interested in sport, but it may most profitably provide an introduction that prompts more in-depth study of one or another of the issues.

Copyright © Pam R. Sailors 2017


Table of Content

Giacomo Santini

Yves Vanden Auweele, Elaine Cook and Jim Parry

Part 1: Re-thinking and implementing concepts and practices in the future of sport

Yves Vanden Auweele, Elaine Cook & Jim Parry

  1. Ethics and the integrity of sport: issues for the next decade
    Mike McNamee
  2. Restoring sport’s integrity: beyond ad hoc solutions in challenging aberrations in sport
    Yves Vanden Auweele
  3. Olympism in the 21st century
    Jim Parry
  4. The ‘fast track’ as a future strategy for achieving gender equality and democracy in sport organizations
    Jorid Hovden
  5. Shifting from reducing emotional harm to optimizing growth: the role of athlete-centered coaching
    Elaine Cook & Gretchen Kerr
  6. 6.Ludo-diversity: an argument for a pluralistic movement culture
    Roland Renson

Part 2: Good governance in a globalized sports world

Bart Vanreusel

  1. Accountability in the global regulation of sport: what does the future Hold?
    Hilary Findlay
  2. The creation of an independent body for the control of governance in sport worldwide
    Sandro Arcioni
  3. The rise and fall of mega-sport events: the future is in non-mega-sport events
    Marijke Taks
  4. The european union as a normative power in international sport
    Arnout Geeraert
  5. We are the game?player democratization and the reform of sport governance
    Peter Donnelly

Part 3: Fair (financial) management in a globalized sports world

Bart Vanreusel & Stefan Kesenne

  1. The growing gap between small-and large-country football teams in europe
    Stefan Kesenne
  2. Paradoxes in professional road cycling: a plea for a new cycling industry
    Wim Lagae & Daam Van Reeth
  3. Sport is ’not’ for all: towards a renewed future for sport for all as a right
    Bart Vanreusel
  4. What If Sport And The Law Have Become Interlocked? The Case Of The EU
    Frank Hendrickx

Part 4: Sport and body enhancement: ethics and possibilities introduction
Bengt Kayser & Jan Tolleneer

  1. Practical self-understanding of athletes and the future of sport
    Jan Vorstenbosch
  2. A glimpse into the morally ambiguous future of elite sport: the lance armstrong story
    William J. Morgan
  3. From zero-tolerance towards risk reduction in doping: learning from the failure of the war on drugs
    Bengt Kayser

Part 5: Re-conceptualizing ‘sport for development’
Karen Petry

  1. The future of sport for development: from ideology to sociology
    Fred Coalter
  2. The critical participatory paradigm and its implications
    Oscar Mwaanga & Kola Adeosun
  3. Perspectives from the south: sport and development as a priority on the international policy agenda
    Marion Keim & Christo De Coning
  4. The concept of ‘development’ and the sport-related (future) approach
    Karen Petry & Marius Runkel

Yves Vanden Auweele, Elaine Cook and Jim Parry)


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