Is sport important?

By Brian Minikin.

There is a constant debate about the importance of sport in our world and in society as a whole. There is no doubt that sport does not lie at the centre of everyone’s universe, but nevertheless, there are many examples of sporting events that attract huge interest in all parts of the world. The problem remains though that actual viewing figures for sporting events are at best, a rough estimate. FIFA claims to have a television audience of around 700 million worldwide for its world cup final. Estimated audiences of around 70% of the world’s population have been bandied around for viewers of the Olympic Games.

In Australia, we all know and accept that the country stops for the Melbourne Cup and for the AFL Grand Final. Well not quite but these are events that it could be said the majority of the population are aware of. In many countries around the world there are examples of sporting events that attract great interest. It can be argued that there are also many countries where the majority of people either have no interest in sport or not time to be interested in sport.

It comes as no surprise that the recent State of the Nation address by US President Barak Obama drew an estimated viewing audience of 33 million people. not only has this number dropped significantly in recent years, it pales into insignificance against the estimated 112 million american viewers of the Super Bowl Final of 2014 and the 43 million who watched the 2014 Oscars.

But even in America, the Super Bowl numbers represent less than a third of the population which looking at it another way means that around two thirds either had something better to do, had no time or no interest in either the super bowl final, or indeed the State of the Nation address.

Sport may indeed by the centre of many people’s universe but one thing we can say for sure, it is not really at the centre of the majority of peoples’ priorities on this planet. For a person who lives in the world of sport, it is hard to imagine a world without it. I wonder then, what it is like for the people who have no interest in sport whatsoever?

Research on anti-doping education in the UK

By Dr Mathieu Winand.

Doping in sport has become a public health problem that not only concerns elite athletes, but also recreational athletes and young people. The World Anti-Doping Agency has developed international sports policies to fight that social phenomenon. These policies are implemented and monitored at national level by National Anti-Doping Organisations which should cooperate with national sport federations to promote anti-doping education. However, there is no evidence yet regarding the extent of anti-doping education activities implemented by sport federations.

A research supported by the Carnegie Trust is currently undertaken by Dr Mathieu Winand from Stirling University to investigate the role of sport federations in anti-doping education in the UK.

The purpose of the research is to analyse the responsibilities of sport federations in doping prevention, the extent to which they implement anti-doping education activities at national level, and the challenges they face in their implementation.

Interviews with representatives of twelve sport federations in the UK and UK Anti-Doping are undertaken to answer the following research questions:

  • What are the actual responsibilities of national sport federations in anti-doping education?
  • What anti-doping education activities are developed by national sport federations?
  • What are the challenges national sport federations face to implement anti-doping education programmes?
  • How can doping prevention be improved at national level through sport federations?

The research aims to provide recommendations to improve doping prevention through better understanding of national sport federations’ challenges and approach to anti-doping policy implementation. The project will highlight the role of education in doping prevention. It contributes to the growing literature on policy implementation and anti-doping policies in particular.

The results are expected to be delivered in May 2015.

Please contact Mathieu.winand@stir.ac.uk for further information or follow @M_Winand on Twitter.